Bail was denied Sunday for a Chicago Transit Authority employee accused of shooting an intoxicated man multiple times early Saturday after he was knocked down during an argument at the 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line stop.
Sylvester Adams, 53, of Lynwood, faces charges of attempted murder and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the attack, which was captured on cellphone video that has spread on social media. During his initial court hearing, prosecutors said that when Adams was arrested shortly after the shooting, he admitted opening fire on the 37-year-old man.
Prior to the shooting, prosecutors said the victim and another male approached a kiosk where Adams and another CTA employee were stationed and asked for directions and help finding an ATM. The victim, who prosecutors said was “clearly intoxicated,” then got into a fight with the male, prompting Adams’ co-worker to call the police.
Officers helped the male onto a train but left when the victim said he was getting a ride, prosecutors said. The victim later started threatening Adams and the other CTA worker, and he also became combative with other patrons.
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Prosecutors said Adams eventually left the kiosk, holding a hammer, and began arguing with the victim, who pushed Adams to the ground. While on the ground, prosecutors said, Adams tried to strike the other man with the hammer, and he was kicked in the face.
Adams followed as the victim tried to run down a flight of stairs, prosecutors said. They were trailed by other witnesses, one of whom was filming.
“He got his pipe, boy,” a witness says in the widely circulated cellphone video as Adams appears to reach into his pocket and pull out a handgun.
Prosecutors said Adams then fired nine shots, striking the other man in his back, abdomen and right leg. Adams returned to the kiosk and told his co-worker that “his life was over,” prosecutors said.
The other CTA employee, following a trail of blood, found the victim hiding at the end of the platform, prosecutors said.
The shooting also was captured by station surveillance cameras, prosecutors said. And when officers arrived at the station for the second time, Adams admitted he’d shot at the victim; that conversation with police was captured on a body-worn police camera, prosecutors said.
The victim was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition, though prosecutors said he’s expected to recover.
Joshua Nathan, Adams’ public defender, described his client as a lifelong Cook County resident who has worked for the CTA for four years. After the shooting, the CTA said it was “pursuing termination” after noting Adams violated several agency rules, including for possessing a gun.
Nathan pressed Judge Barbara Dawkins to turn down prosecutors’ request that bail be denied, arguing that Adams had a license to posses a gun and has no publishable criminal background.
Dawkins retorted that Adams had brought a gun to work and unleashed multiple rounds “on one of the busiest ‘L’ platforms in this city.”
“Bullets don’t have names. They don’t have addresses,” she said. “[He was] firing multiple shots down a stairwell, putting … anyone who was in that vicinity at risk.”
Dawkins then ordered Adams held without bail. His next court date is set for April 4.