Metra: Man with gun was Secret Service agent

Train delayed 2 hours by search
January 14, 2009 2:30:58 PM PST
A train headed to Chicago from west suburban Lisle was stopped Wednesday morning after reports of a man with a gun onboard.Authorities searching the train found an armed Secret Service agent, which is completely legal. No laws were broken, according to officials, but there are conflicting reports of what led to the 911 call.

Just before 8 a.m., a U.S. Secret Service agent approached a Naperville station agent to buy a ticket. Metra and the Lisle police say the man told the station agent he was armed and asked if there were metal detectors, but did not identify himself as a federal agent authorized to carry a gun. That report was corroborated by an additional source, who also said the secret service agent never identified himself.

The station agent followed protocol and alerted authorities. The busy train was stopped in Lisle so police could search for the man. About 100 commuters were searched before the agent was identified. "The Lisle Police Department was very cooperative, did everything they could have done. We couldn't be happy about the outcome, that everybody was safe and the response as perfect," said Judy Pardonnet, Metra.

The Secret Service said their agent did identify himself to the station agent.

Once Lisle police realized the agent was legitimate, he was allowed to continue his commute. The train arrived two hours later.

"It was scary, very scary," said Mike Smith, commuter

"They were going to have everybody get off the train. Everybody was to move to the front of the car, get off the train. Then after a while, they told us -- we found out what was going on, that it was somebody with a gun that got on in Naperville," said Lucinda Hill, passenger. "I was hoping it wouldn't get crazy in there."

"When the police came on, they said, 'Everybody hands up, please no sudden movements. We'll check everybody.' They came past me and said, 'Sir, you match the description.' They searched my bag, unzipped my coat," said passenger Andrew Brim. "I feel fine now. I wasn't offended at all."

"I would have been downtown 10:30 or 11:00," said Steve Temmer, who decided to work from home. "It would have been a couple more hours of delay."

No laws were broken, according to Lisle police, so the secret service agent was not charged with anything. According to the Secret Service, their agent did not know police were searching for him. Secret Service officials said their agent acted appropriately.

Metra officials said there is no need for law enforcement officials with the appropriate credentials to announce they are armed.


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