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8-On-1 Hammer Attack On CTA Train Leads To Attempted Murder Charges

 Clockwise from top left: Dion Benson, 19; Holsie Grayson, 28; Deashley Woodard, 19; Allen McDowell, 23; Emmanuel Hunter, 19; Na Eem Hoskins, 24.
Clockwise from top left: Dion Benson, 19; Holsie Grayson, 28; Deashley Woodard, 19; Allen McDowell, 23; Emmanuel Hunter, 19; Na Eem Hoskins, 24.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The group accused of brutally attacking a CTA passenger with a hammer last month will face an upgraded charge of attempted murder, court records show.

The victim, a 28-year-old FedEx employee, was riding the Blue Line to work about 1:30 a.m. Feb. 10 when roughly 10 young people attacked him with yellow sticks and a hammer, prosecutors said. The man's eye socket was broken, and he may suffer permanent vision loss.

Earlier in the evening, the same group ransacked a Downtown 7-Eleven — beating a 25-year-old clerk as they stuffed stolen items into backpacks and threw garbage about the store, prosecutors said.

RELATED: Group Trashes 7-Eleven, Brutally Beats CTA Rider with Hammer

Two juveniles and six adults — including a man who was wanted for a Grant Park rape — were arrested last month and initially charged with aggravated battery and armed robbery.

Prosecutors have upgraded the adults' charges to include attempted murder, court records show. Each adult will appear in court Wednesday. (Juveniles are charged separately, and details on their cases were not immediately available.)

It all started about 11:45 p.m. Feb. 9 when roughly 10 young people walked into a 7-Eleven at 801 S. State St., officials said.

Na Eem Hoskins, 24, allegedly tried to distract the store clerk by dancing as his accomplices stuffed food and other items into their pockets and bags. When the clerk tried to stop the group, prosecutors said, 19-year-old Deashley Woodard hit him in his head and face.

The entire incident was captured on 7-Eleven surveillance footage, court records show.

RELATED: 2 More Charged in Brutal CTA Hammer Attack — Bringing Arrest Total to 8

A few hours later, the same group boarded a CTA Blue Line train. According to prosecutors, there was only other passenger on board: a 28-year-old FedEx employee on his way to work in suburban Rosemont.

The man thought the group was "acting belligerent," prosecutors said. When several people stepped on his feet, the man asked them to watch where they were going. An altercation ensued, and the man tried to switch train cars as the "L" passed through the 800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, prosecutors said.

The group chased the victim, hitting and kicking him before "pouncing" on him with yellow sticks and a hammer they'd brought on board, prosecutors said.

The man eventually blacked out, and when he awoke, his headphones, cellphone and work ID were missing, authorities said. The entire attack was captured on CTA surveillance footage.

Police were able to arrest six people that night, court records show. One suspect, 23-year-old Allen McDowell, was subsequently charged for raping and robbing a man with cerebral palsy at Grant Park a week prior. He was carrying the victim's Ventra card at the time of his arrest, court records show.

RELATED: Grant Park Rape of Man With Cerebral Palsy Linked to Downtown Robberies

The adult suspects are charged as follows:

• Hoskins, of the 1000 block of West Lawrence Avenue in Uptown, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, retail theft, aggravated battery to a merchant and robbery. Bail is set at $1 million.

• McDowell, of the 4000 block of North Sheridan Road in Buena Park, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated criminal sexual assault by a felon, aggravated criminal sexual assault of a handicapped victim, armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, criminal sexual assault and armed robbery indicating a firearm. Bail is set at $2 million.

• Woodard, of north suburban Zion, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Bail is set at $1 million.

• Emmanuel Hunter, 19, of the 100 block of West Elm Street on the Near North Side, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Bail is set at $1 million.

• Holsie Grayson, of the 2700 block of West Roosevelt Road, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Bail was set at $1 million.

• Dion Benson, of the 100 block of East 119th Place, is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery to a transit passenger, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Bail was set at $750,000.

Two girls, ages 16 and 17, were also charged in the crime spree, according to police.

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