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After yet another shooting on a CTA train, head of security says how to keep guns off trains is a 'million-dollar question'

How can the CTA keep guns off trains and platforms?
How can the CTA keep guns off trains and platforms? 02:43

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man was shot on a CTA Red Line train along the Dan Ryan Expressway Tuesday night, and now the vice president of Chicago Transit Authority security is speaking out.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, the safety official was asked how the transit agency is going to stop people from bringing weapons onto trains. It has been the big question for months.

The shooting Tuesday evening on a Red Line train at 47th Street Tuesday evening follows months of gunpoint robberies and other crimes on trains and train platforms.

CTA Vice President of Security Kevin Ryan said keeping guns off CTA property is indeed a key issue – but not a simple one to solve. He said something like a Transportation Security Administration-style checkpoint, for example, would not work.

"That's a million-dollar question – if we could prevent people from getting on the CTA with guns," he said. "We could do it like airports do it, but nobody would ever get on the train. There would be huge, long lines. This is a challenge faced by agencies all over the world."

CTA safety official faces questions following Red Line shooting 02:27

At 7:49 p.m. Tuesday, a man was shot in the last car of a train at the 47th Street Red Line station. The man got into a quarrel with another man, who took out a gun and shot him in the back and legs, police said.

The man was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was reported in serious condition, police said. Witness Kewhawn George told CBS 2's Jermont Terry that before a gun was pulled, the gunman stepped on the victim's shoes.

Passengers – commuters trying to get home – hurried to get off the train car after the shooting. The gunman made it off too.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the gunman still was not in custody as police continued to investigate yet another CTA crime.

We have tracked the spike in crime on the CTA closely at CBS 2. Earlier Tuesday, we reported on the theft of a police officer's Taser as the officer was struggling to arrest somebody else at the Roosevelt Red Line stop.

We have tracked violent crime on public transit at an eight-year high. Aggravated batteries in particular are way up – with 86 so far this year compared with 42 for the same period last year.

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CBS 2

So, if airport-like security isn't the answer, what is?

"It's aggressive enforcement and aggressive prosecution once somebody is caught, and there are enhanced penalties for carrying weapons on public transportation," Ryan said.

Ryan noted that most violent crimes on the CTA follow a certain pattern – and do not target random people.

"Most these incidents are targeted incidents where individuals are going after each other," he said. "Very few seem to be random acts of violence."

Ryan also talked a lot about something we've covered several times here at CBS 2 - the advanced camera network on the CTA.

"The CTA continues to leverage its comprehensive network of over 33,000 cameras to aid police in investigating crimes on our near CTA property," Ryan said. "The cameras serve as a silent witness and have been a vital asset in helping police identify and arrest suspects." 

Nothing has been released publicly, but video of the shooting Tuesday night was provided to CPD within an hour, according to the CTA. 

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