It was a typical Saturday on the Amtrak train heading from Kansas City to Chicago. Michael Case, 46, of Homewood was the conductor. The date was May 19, 2017.
One older male passenger seemed “discombobulated,” Case later reported. The passenger, Edward Klein, had tried to enter private sleeping quarters and asked where he could find the library.
When the train made a scheduled stop at the Fourth Avenue Metra Railway station north of downtown Naperville, Case said he tried to help Klein by keeping him from getting off. He knew that Klein was bound for Milwaukee via Chicago. The conductor said he then got off the train and unloaded some baggage.
When Case returned to the train compartment door, he said he saw Klein standing inside, holding a snub-nosed revolver and wearing “a look of anger.” Klein, a retired federal law enforcement officer, fired once, striking Case in the torso.
The Chicago Tribune article “Train conductor shot at Naperville station” describes how Case turned and ran a short distance. Onlookers “wrestled Klein to the ground and kept him immobile until police arrived. Naperville police officer Anthony Cimilucca, who took Klein into custody and recovered the revolver from his pants pocket, testified that Klein said he was angry because he was prevented from leaving the train.”
The Chicago Tribune article reported that a hearing was scheduled “to determine whether to acquit Klein or find that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to prove his guilt.” Klein could face involuntary commitment in a mental facility. Because of his mental state, Klein would not face a prison sentence.
Klein, who is eighty years old, has since been declared unfit to stand trial on charges that include attempted murder. Authorities say that Klein “exhibits dementialike symptoms and is not likely to regain mental fitness.”
Case was hospitalized for two months and had a third surgery planned for January. David Piazza, the medical director for trauma surgery at Edward Hospital, has said that “Michael Case is in serious condition, and expected to require hospitalization and treatment for another six to nine months.” According to his wife, Sara, Michael Case remains anxious to get back on the job at Amtrak. “Our goal on the medical staff is (that) he will return to work,” Piazza said.
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—by Karen Centowski