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Cop who pried open CTA train doors to nab robber describes the experience

Chicago Police Officer Tim Kroski with wife, Jane.

Chicago Police Officer Tim Kroski with wife, Jane. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Prying open the doors of a CTA train, surprisingly, isn’t super hard.

That’s according to Chicago Police Officer Tim Kroski, who did just that in order to grab a gunman who’d just robbed a woman in the Lake View neighborhood late last month.

After learning the gunman ran toward the Belmont Red Line station, Korski hustled up to the platform and began looking through windows of a stopped train until he saw a man who matched the description of the robber.

But the train doors had just shut.

“There wasn’t much resistance, and as soon as I got the doors open he was standing there and I was able to just grab ahold of his arms and walk him off the train,” Kroski said Tuesday during an awards ceremony at Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union.

Kroski, who grew up in Edison Park and graduated from St. Patrick High School before attending Northeastern Illinois University, was presented the award by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

The man, Xavier Lyons, 18, was charged with armed robbery.

Kroski, 28, said he wasn’t afraid.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m super tough or anything, but I was so focused on apprehending him that it kind of set the fear aside for a little bit,” he said.

A gun found in the man’s waistband was later determined to be a replica, something that neither the robbery victim nor Kroski knew until after the fact.

Kroski’s wife, Jane, who’s due with the couple’s first child, a boy, in April, said Tuesday that she trusts her husband’s instincts and tries not worry.

“Of course it’s scary, but I try to put that in the back of my mind because I know that he’s a very smart man, so I know that he can get the job done. I just pray for him and his fellow officers every day,” she said.