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Man Shot During Blue Line Robbery On West Side

UPDATED 06/29/11 10:49 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) - A man was shot and wounded overnight on the Pulaski Blue Line CTA platform on the city's West Side.

As CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports, the 22-year-old man was shot during an armed robbery attempt around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday on the platform of the station, which is on the Forest Park leg of the Blue Line that runs in the center median of the Eisenhower Expressway.

The robber demanded money and, when the victim told him he didn't have any money, the robber shot him and took off, according to the victim's mother.

"When he didn't have anything, the man shot him. He shot him in his stomach and in his thigh for no reason ... just 'cause he didn't have any money," Pam Federick said.

The victim, Justin McGhee, was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County. He was shot once in the abdomen, and again in the thigh, police said.

Federick told CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli that her son believes he's been given a second chance at life and now he's determined to make it home from the hospital to be there for his 2-year-old daughter.

"He's feeling blessed. He knows it could have been different. He's laying in the hospital but he could have been laying in the morgue. He's getting better," Federick said.

The Pulaski station is equipped with at least one surveillance camera. CTA Officials said video has been handed over to police, but McGhee and his mom doubt the crime was caught on tape.

"There are no cameras on the ramp. And this guy must know this. He waited till Justin was on the ramp to approach. I would like to see more cameras," said Federick.

Just last week, the CTA announced plans to double the number of security cameras across the rail system from the current 1,500 to about 3,000. Those cameras should be in place in about six months.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the new system will cover areas where crimes can now be committed unseen.

"Most stations now have one camera and it covers one area. That's great, but we want every area to be done," Claypool said last week.

That's welcome news to West Side resident Joyce Woodson, who said she believes it may deter would-be criminals who she said she regularly sees near the Pulaski stop.

Woodson said she carries pepper spray at all times when she goes to the rapid transit stop from her home about four blocks away. When asked how safe she feels there, she said, "not at all" and described herself as "terrified."

"I'm ducking and dodging all the time trying to get to work. I'm ducking and dodging; trying to get to work, and sometimes I have to turn around and walk this way. Sometimes I have to go up Fifth Avenue," she said.

Woodson said dangerous people hang around in the area constantly.

"I see people lurking around behind cars at 5 o'clock in the morning. What are they doing at 5 o'clock in the morning ducking and dodging behind cars?" Woodson said. "I had an incident when I was standing out here. I had to walk back up because of this man."

In the past year and a half CTA security cameras have led to the arrest of more than 80 people. Federick hopes they will help lead to the man who nearly killed her son.

But on Tuesday she wasn't focused so much on justice, but on life itself, knowing full well that in her son's case, a few inches made the difference between life and death.

"If the bullet had hit him a few inches higher up ... we wouldn't have him," she said. "I wouldn't be here standing here like this. I would be an emotional wreck."

So far there have been no arrests in the case. Federick said her son should be out of the hospital in about five days.

Ald. Michael Chandler (24th) says it's unfortunate that people have to feel scared when they're taking public transportation. Recently, he says he has had to ask police to step up patrol in the area.

"In that surrounding area – like two blocks surrounding – we have had a lot of shootings lately. There have been like nine shootings just two blocks away from here around Pulaski and Lexington in the last month," Chandler said.

He said the area needs "more patrol officers, but I say that the police have responded well, and where all the shootings occurred, they have a car that's been out 24 hours. So they are starting to bring the resources that we need."

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