A headshot — including a “large, distinguishing neck tattoo” — posted on social media helped police quickly arrest a man suspected in a robbery-related shooting on a CTA Blue Line train.
”Once his picture is pushed out over social media, detectives received several anonymous tips identifying the name of the offender from the community,” Brendan Deenihan, the Chicago Police Department’s chief of detectives, told reporters at a news conference Thursday at police headquarters.
Patrick Waldon, 31, has been “preying on the people of Chicago for years,” Interim Supt. Charlie Beck said.
Waldon was arrested Wednesday night with a revolver in his pocket, Cook County prosecutors said at a bail hearing.
Waldon, of the 8000 block of South Ingleside Avenue, has felony convictions for theft, robbery, armed robbery and for being a felony in possession of a gun and was on parole for a 2013 armed robbery.
Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Waldon held without bail Thursday, citing evidence that included CTA surveillance video that authorities said showed Waldon standing behind the 30-year-old victim by the train doors and firing a single shot before exiting the train with the victim’s backpack.
Assistant State’s Attorney Catherine Howlett said Waldon and the victim boarded the train at the Jackson stop Wednesday morning, and that Waldon took a seat beside the victim, then demanded the victim give him his backpack.
The victim tried to ignore Waldon, and rose to get off at the next stop. Waldon then got up, stood behind the man, pressed a gun into the man’s back, fired once and got off the train with the bag, Howlett said. A witness who was standing behind Waldon also saw him holding the gun and fire the shot, Howlett said.
Investigators say Waldon shot the man while the victim was exiting a westbound train at the UIC-Halsted stop. The shooting temporarily shut down the UIC-Halsted station as police searched for the assailant.
Detectives tracked Waldon to a nearby Target store, where he was seen on video surveillance dumping items from the victim’s backpack, police said. Police then used the video surveillance to generate the photograph that was posted on social media.
That led to Waldon’s arrest in the 3000 block of West Harrison Street, police said. Both the victim and a “very cooperative” witness on the Blue Line train identified Waldon in photo lineups, police said.
“Thank goodness (the victim) is in stable condition at this point,” Beck said.
Court records show Waldon was charged in 2013 in a home invasion case in Maywood. Waldon pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was paroled in 2018 and was expected to be discharged in 2021, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Waldon also served prison time for a 2010 robbery case, records show.
The Blue Line shooting was the second incident of serious violence on CTA property in as many days.
A musician was stabbed on the platform of the Jackson Red Line station around 1:35 p.m. Tuesday.
Police records show in the past 10 years there have been nearly 6,200 robberies and attempted robberies on CTA property. Arrests have been made in 835 of those cases.