A white teen has been charged in relation with the death of a former Marine after he allegedly pushed the veteran between the cars of a CTA train in downtown Chicago on April 7.
Ryan Munn, 18, of North Center, was arrested on April 10 and charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Chicago police say Mamadou Balde, 29, of West Rogers Park, was waiting for a train at the Jackson Red Line stop in the 200 block of South State Street around 5 p.m. Tuesday when he encountered Munn and two other men who began arguing with him, authorities say.
According to reports from some who’ve seen the surveillance video of the incident, after the initial confrontation, Balde began walking away from the men. One of the assailants pursued the still-smiling victim and began punching him, and then another, later identified by police as Munn, joined in, punching Balde and shoving him until he fell between the cars of a train that was pulling out of the station. As Balde tried to free himself, he would be dragged away by the train and slammed into a metal partition, killing him.
The CTA surveillance footage led to the Friday arrest, according to the police.
Balde’s dad, Al, expressed anger at the senseless act of violence against his son. The grieving father told Fox 32 Chicago that police shared with him that his son “didn’t want to fight.”
“Yes, I am mad, that is correct. … This guy gave his life for his country and three people throw him on the train,’’ he said. Adding, “He was walking away from these people. He didn’t want any confrontation.”
Balde served in the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2015 soon after high school. He did two tours in Afghanistan after signing up with the Marines — a decision his father, who encouraged him to join, says he now regrets.
“When he came back from Afghanistan the second time, he wasn’t my son,” the veteran’s father told the Chicago TV station. “He was not the man I knew.”
He told WGN9 that he feared his son, whom he considered the smartest of his four boys, would die early.
“I kind of knew also he was going to end up this way,” he said.
The veteran leaves behind his three siblings and his father.
While in police custody, prosecutors said Munn admitted to punching Balde out of loyalty for a friend. He said he was only trying to push the victim to the ground, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to the newspaper, Munn’s court-appointed attorney, Courtney Smallwood, asked the presiding judge during a hearing on Sunday to deny the prosecution’s petition to deny bond for her client, who she said lacked a serious criminal background and was merely coming to the aid of his unidentified friend who was an “equal combatant” to Balde.
“This was absolutely a tragic accident, but that’s exactly what it is, an accident,” Smallwood said Sunday.
The judge denied the request, and Munn was ordered to be held with no bond. He is expected to be back in court April 17.
Luis Agostini, assistant director of communications for the Chicago Police Department and a former USMC correspondent, said Balde will be remembered as a brave hero.
“Mamadou Balde will be remembered as a brave hero who, alongside his brothers of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, helped pave the way for the Taliban stronghold of Sangin to be cleared of insurgents in 2010-2011,” he tweeted Wednesday.