Man Charged in ‘Brutal’ Stabbing on CTA Blue Line Train That Left 1 Dead

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

A Chicago man is accused of “brutally” murdering an acquaintance on a CTA Blue Line train Monday night, stabbing the man repeatedly in his neck, chest and torso.

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Travis Cook, 53, has been charged with first-degree murder stemming from the killing of a 43-year-old man inside a train car downtown. The victim’s name was not released during a hearing Thursday, during which Cook was ordered held without bail.

During that hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Danny Hanichak said Cook and the victim appeared to know each other, and were seen traveling to various locations together in the hours preceding the stabbing.

At around 10:30 p.m. Monday, the two men were seen on surveillance video sitting across from each other as they rode the Blue Line near the 400 block of South Clinton Street. Cook appeared to be sleeping, when the victim approached him and took something from Cook’s pocket, Hanichak said.

Cook then woke up and began yelling at the victim before he allegedly pulled out a knife and began stabbing and slashing at the man. According to Hanichak, video showed Cook standing over the victim and repeatedly slashing at him.

The victim suffered multiple stab wounds and injuries to his neck, chest and ribcage. Cook fled from the train at the Clinton stop, while the victim was left bleeding, Hanichak said. The victim was rushed to Stroger Hospital after a witness on the train pulled an emergency stop button, but the man was pronounced dead.

Cook was seen throughout the day wearing a distinctive sweatshirt that said “Pink Runtz,” according to Hanichak. Chicago police later published a bulletin with still photos of a man they sought in connection with the stabbing who was wearing similar clothes.

On Tuesday, Cook went to Stroger himself for treatment of an unrelated issue, and while there, nursing staff recognized him from that police bulletin, Hanichak said. They notified police, who arrived and arrested Cook on scene.

During his arrest, Cook was allegedly wearing the same pants as he had on during the murder, and was carrying with him the same sweatshirt seen on video.

Hanichak on Thursday also detailed Cook’s extensive criminal background, which he said dates back to 1986. Cook has 18 previous felony convictions, Hanichak said, including for aggravated robbery in 2013 and for armed robbery in 1991.

“So judge, not only did the defendant brutally murder the victim in this case, he has a long, extensive criminal history, which inlcudes those crimes of violence,” Hanichak said.

More recently, a warrant was issued for Cook’s arrest after he failed to appear for a March hearing following a January 2022 arrest for retail theft.

Cook is due back in court June 15.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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