Commuters waiting on the platform of the Harlem Avenue Blue Line stop on April 25 at about 10 a.m. witnessed the chase and arrest of a man by a police officer armed with an assault rifle.

“The police had an assault weapon,” said Jeff, a witness who declined to give his last name. “There were police on the Circle Avenue bridge and [the officer] on the platform told two people to lie down on the platform.”

Police were responding to a call from a 33-year-old woman, who had seen a man, later identified as Calvin Shumate, 53, of Melrose Park, leaning into her vehicle behind a residence in the 800 block of Harlem Avenue, said Forest Park Deputy Chief Tom Aftanas.

“She heard her dogs barking and saw a guy enter her car,” he said. “She yelled at [him] and he took off running toward the train. She tried to follow, walking behind the offender.”

An officer carrying an assault rifle located Shumate on the platform and made the arrest, said Aftanas. The victim positively identified him. Shumate had several items in a bag on his person, including a necklace, earrings, an iPod, sunglasses, a DVD faceplate and a CD case. However, the victim did not recognize any of her property.

Shumate was charged with misdemeanor trespass to auto. Because he had 44 prior arrests and 11 convictions, most recently a drug paraphernalia arrest in Oak Park on April 4, is being held in Cook County Jail pending a future court date. Shumate has been charged in the past with theft and along with burglary, weapons, sex and drug offenses.

The officer, who carries the carries the AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon, is highly trained and is a member of the military, said Aftanas.

“If officers are trained in the weapon, they are allowed to carry them,” Aftanas said. “A rifle has better aim. And there is an intimidation factor. They see that they’re going to think twice about running. The officer was by himself on the platform for a while.”

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...