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Suspect questioned in shoving death of woman at Fullerton L stop

Sally Katona-King

Sally Katona-King

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Updated: July 8, 2011 9:53AM

A teenager convicted of robbing a woman near a North Side L stop was being questioned Thursday in connection with a similar crime in March in which a robber ran into a 68-year-old woman, knocking her down the stairs at another L stop and causing injuries that led to her death the next day, sources said.

The 17-year-old is being questioned by Chicago Police detectives in the death of Sally Katona-King

, a receptionist for the Evangelical Lutheran Metropolitan Chicago Synod, 1420 W. Dickens.

She left work and was heading up the stairs at the CTA’s Fullerton L stop on March 28 when she was knocked down the steps by someone trying to get away after taking an iPhone from someone on a Brown Line train.

The teenager — who hasn’t been charged in Katona-King’s death — robbed a woman of an iPhone May 15 near the Clark/Division Red Line stop, sources said. With the woman’s help, the police arrested him soon after. He pleaded guilty in the May robbery and was sentenced to serve four years.

Chicago Police said he was being held in a juvenile facility in Joliet when the police brought him in for questioning Tuesday in Katona-King’s death.

Sources said they believe the teen is a solid suspect in Katona-King’s death but it could be weeks before they obtain charges in the case.

Katona-King, the mother of three children, served as a deacon at the First Lutheran Church of Logan Square.

“I feel some sense of relief,’’ said Lutheran Bishop Wayne Miller, who worked with Katona-King at the Chicago Synod offices in Lincoln Park. “If this is the person who did it, I’m hopeful it will prevent it from happening to anybody else.’’

He continued: “Sally had a very well-internalized sense of right and wrong. If people do bad there should be consequences. But she was also very forgiving and didn’t have a sense of vengeance.

“If she was reading about this happening to someone else in the newspaper I think she would have been happy they caught the kid. ... I think it’s also safe to say she would have had genuine compassion for this person.’’

Her co-workers at Frank’s Pizzeria, 6506 W. Belmont, where she formerly was a long-time employee and part-time manager, also expressed relief.

“I’m very happy he got caught, if it is indeed the right guy,’’ Sue Valentino, who worked with Katona-King, said Thursday. “I’m surprised he did get caught, though. I didn’t think they’d ever find him. It’s a miracle.”

She added: “She was friends with everyone here. She was very reliable. I hoped and prayed to God they’d catch who ever did it.”

At the Fullerton L stop Thursday, Ivory May, 39, a CTA rider from Englewood, said the police action “does make me feel safer to know he’s not still running around loose, trying to do the same stuff.”

Another rider wasn’t so sure.

“It doesn’t really make me feel safer,” said Jennifer Hill, 48, of Edgewater, who works downtown for Northwestern University and holds tight to her belongings when she rides the L. “There will still be snatch-and-grab-type crime on the L.”

Contributing: Frank Main

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