The alleged gunman who shot and wounded an Amtrak conductor on a train in a west Chicago suburb this week told investigators he opened fire because "the victim pissed him off," prosecutors said Friday.
Edward Klein, a 79-year-old retired law enforcement officer from East Allis, Wisconsin, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with the discharge of a firearm. He was ordered held in lieu of $1.5 million bail Friday morning.
Klein, who lived in an assisted living home, was on his way to visit a friend in Las Vegas when he changed his mind while at a stop in Naperville and wanted to get off the train, prosecutors said.
After the doors closed on the train, officials allege Klein stuck his arm out of the window of the train and fired one shot, striking 45-year-old Michael Case in the torso, according to Amtrak and police.
Case, a Navy veteran from Homewood, has undergone surgery and is now on a breathing tube as a community rallies around his wife and four children.
A handgun was recovered from the scene, according to Naperville police Cmdr. Lou Cammiso.
“The charges against Mr. Klein are very serious and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “While the injuries sustained by the victim in this case are quite severe, it is my sincerest hope that he will make a full recovery and be back on the job soon.
Case's wife's co-workers at the 5th Quarter Restaurant in Homewood have set up a GoFundMe page to help with his medical expenses. She also voiced her thanks for the support in a Facebook post shared with NBC 5.
"I just want to extend my most deeply felt gratitude," the post reads. "I have been truly touched by the outpouring of love, support, prayers and thoughts."
Amtrak says it will look at the incident to see if there are lessons to be learned. There are recommended federal guidelines to keep rail passengers safe. Rail systems are urged to train for evacuation, panic prevention and communication.
The Amtrak train, called the Southwest Chief, runs from Los Angeles to Chicago and was carrying 235 passengers at the time.
Per Amtrak policy, unloaded weapons are allowed in checked bags with advanced notice only. Having a loaded gun in a passenger car is considered a violation, according to an Amtrak spokesperson.
Klein did not appear to have an attorney in court Friday and had refused a public defender. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 12.