CHICAGO - A teenage boy was charged with gunning down a CTA rider last August on Chicago's South Side.
Charles Carter, 16, is accused of being one of two people who shot and killed 29-year-old Diunte Moon who was riding on a Red Line train on Aug. 6 near the 79th Street station, police said.
Moon suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, police said. He was transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Carter was arrested Tuesday in Georgia and extradited to Chicago where he was charged with first-degree murder, police said.
His attorney suggested Wednesday he may have been acting in self-defense.
Cook County prosecutors acknowledged that Moon was holding "a very small pocketknife" when he was shot multiple times by Carter.
But prosecutors said high-definition surveillance footage does not appear to show Moon menacing the boy with the knife or making any movement toward the teen before the shots were fired.
About 2 a.m. that day, the footage shows Carter and a friend riding in the same train car as Moon, who had fallen asleep in his seat, prosecutors said.
An unknown person is seen approaching Moon and stealing his wallet, then getting off the train shortly afterward. As Moon continues to sleep, the footage shows Carter’s friend approach and steal his cellphone, prosecutors said.
The friend sat back down next to Carter and they agreed to split any proceeds from selling the phone, prosecutors allege.
Several minutes later, Moon woke up and began looking for his missing items. He asked passengers, including Carter and his friend, if they had seen anyone take them, prosecutors said.
Moon then put AirPod headphones in his ear, which prosecutors said they believe was an attempt to see if they would connect to his phone and indicate it was nearby.
As the train neared 79th Street, Carter can be seen with his hand in his pocket for 25 seconds before the shooting, prosecutors said. At some point, Moon appeared to have confronted Carter and his friend.
In partial footage released earlier by police, Carter appears to be talking with someone off camera on the train with his hand in his jacket, but the footage does not show the shooting.
Prosecutors said Carter fired several times at Moon at close range, striking him three times. Carter and his friend allegedly fled in separate directions.
The surveillance footage led three people to identify Carter as the gunman, including two staff members at a high school Carter used to attend and a Chicago police officer who worked as a security guard at the school, prosecutors said.
Assistant Public Defender Richard Paull noted Carter had no prior criminal history.
"This may be a direct self-defense issue," Paull said, noting the knife. "We have no idea what threats were leveled at my young client at the time of the incident."
Judge Mary Marubio ordered Carter held without bail. He was expected back in court Dec. 27.
The shooting occurred as officials struggled to get control of an increase in crime on the city’s public transit system. At a news conference afterward, Chicago police and transit officials announced plans to increase security on trains and CTA platforms.
A Sun-Times analysis published a day before the shooting found that violent crime on CTA trains and buses at that point had risen to a level not seen since 2011, even though ridership fell during the pandemic.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.