Father says Marine vet was walking away from confrontation when he was pushed into moving CTA train and was killed
Al Balde, left, father of Mamadou Balde, and Mamadou’s sister, Fatoumata, talk to reporters outside the Cook County medical examiner’s office, on April 8, 2020. Mamadou was push onto the Red Line tracks and killed Tuesday evening.(Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)
Mamadou Balde grew up tough. He lost his mother to cholera when he was 3, moved from West Africa when he was 9, joined the Marines when he was 18 and served two tours in Afghanistan.
Tuesday evening, he was waiting for a train at the Jackson Red Line stop when three men started arguing with him, according to Chicago police. Surveillance video apparently shows him walking away from the confrontation when one of the three ran up and pushed him off the platform and into a moving train, killing him. He was 29.
“He didn’t want to fight,’’ his father Al Balde said he was told by officers who saw the video. “Yes, I am mad, that is correct. … This guy gave his life for his country and three people throw him on the train.’’
Chicago police say Mamadou Balde fell between two cars of a train that was pulling away from the station and was dragged to his death about 5 p.m. Police have identified three people of interest, and at least one of them has been involved in crimes in the Chicago downtown area, according to a law enforcement source. No arrests have been reported.
Fatoumata Balde holds a cellphone image of her brother Mamadou Balde in the Marines on April 8, 2020. Mamadou Balde was push onto the Red Line tracks and killed. (Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)
The Jackson platform and an adjoining commuter tunnel have been the scene of several violent attacks recently, including a fatal shooting and a stabbing earlier this year. The increase in violence led to an increased police presence at CTA stations.
The attack was among eight homicides recorded in Chicago Tuesday, the deadliest violence the city has seen in a single day for nearly two years.
The second youngest of four children, Mamadou Balde attended Armstrong Elementary School and went to Lane Tech High School, where he graduated in 2008. “He liked it here,’’ said his father, who drove a cab on the North Side after moving his family from the Republic of Guinea. “He was very smart.’’
He joined the Marines as soon as he got out of high school. He was dispatched to Afghanistan, where he served as an infantryman. After a year, he returned to Chicago to spend a few months with his family before being sent back a second time.
“He told me that they (Marines) made him a man,’’ Al Balde said. “He never called me sir, and when he came back home he called me sir.’’
After his second tour ended in 2015, Mamadou Balde struggled with PTSD, his father said. “It was crazy over there,’’ he said. “He told me a lot. He told me things had haunted him.
Source: Chicago Tribune)