But Brown is convinced that the man she has known for 21 years and has been married to for five is also linked to the two incidents in which someone fired shots at the engineer's cab. Those incidents, on June 6 and 8, were suspicious enough for Metra officials to pull Brown from the train route and post a "Metra Police Community Alert" with two composites of a suspect and a police mug shot of Howard/Cassidy, 46.I suppose no matter how long you've known a person, you may never know what they're capable of. I wonder what is the catalyst for someone to want to do something like this.
Because Brown had switched her schedule with two other engineers so that she could attend a son's sports event, she wasn't harmed, but the engineers who replaced her were injured when they heard gunshots and tried to duck.
Brown's union is collecting donations for a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the train shootings.
"This is no coincidence," Brown said. "If you just sit on the platform, you see the same engineer go back and forth. It's not hard for somebody to track down your routine and your schedule. He knows where I work."
The composite doesn't resemble her estranged husband, which is why Brown suspects someone was hired to do the shooting. In the earlier "acid" incident, an unidentified man Brown described as looking like a "bone or crackhead" came to her door and pretended to be looking for work before throwing a chemical at Brown's face. She and her 6-year-old son were splattered and were treated at the scene by paramedics, according to police reports.
"Everybody was hysterical," Brown said.
I do know one thing this woman has been suffering financially...
"He's obsessed with me. I have a file on all these things he has done. I'm trying to get him off the street because he's dangerous," Brown told me during a recent interview in my office. "Every day I come home, I don't know what will happen next." Last week, he broke a patio window with landscaping rocks, according to a police report filed by neighbors who allegedly saw him lurking around her house. "I'm on my seventh homeowner and auto claim [in one year], and they canceled me," she said.How unfortunate that this is and I hope that they can get this man off the streets before he can do something more serious. No one should live in fear whether from their husband, wife, or anybody. It's also unfortunate that this situation seems to have affected her lively hood. And I share this story for you as a cautionary tale of sorts. Be careful out there.
Brown's story shows just how little orders of protection actually help domestic violence victims, and how much this kind of domestic terrorism can cost the victim.
Because Brown, a Metra train engineer, was the likely target of gunshots fired at a train, she has been assigned to another job that pays $30,000 less a year.
"Ain't nothing I can do. I can't cower down," Brown told me. "I got a brand-new house that I bought in 2004, and I've got to sell it. I've reduced the price because I've just got to move."
Brown, 41, says she is now a month behind on her mortgage because of the pay cut.
"They have incidents where other people have stalkers on the train, and they put them in the office and gave them their regular pay, but they are not doing it for me," she said.
Judy Pardonnet, Metra's Director of Media Relations, confirmed that an unidentified person fired on the Metra train to which Brown was assigned on two occasions.
"There was damage to one of the train cars -- two bullet holes were found in the train, but no one was injured [by gunfire]," Pardonnet said. "In the other shooting, there were reports that the train was fired upon, but we did not find any damage to the train."
As for the reduced pay, Pardonnet said Friday that that issue will soon be resolved.
"The management didn't know how long the investigation would continue. Our immediate concern was for the safety of our employees and passengers. But the investigation is continuing, and she will go back to her original rate of pay for the next six months," Pardonnet said. "At that time we will reassess the situation."