Mike Balde, real name Mamadou Balde, 29, was a US Marine veteran. On Tuesday, as he stood on a CTA Red Line platform in Chicago, he was shoved in front of an oncoming train. By the time police arrived, Mike was dead. (WGN)
Ryan Munn, 18, was arrested Friday night, and scheduled to appear today. It was his first arrest, and faces First Degree Murder.
Police had a CTA surveillance video of the incident, but did not release it. Balde was walking away from a confrontation by three men when they shoved him off the platform. He had an honorable discharge from the Corps but came home only to be murdered by a group of snot-nosed brats.
A fellow Marine sent us this touching tribute about Mike Balde:
“To wake up to news that one of your friends died is one of the worst things that could possibly happen. To find out that they were attacked by 3 people and pushed in front of a train just makes it worse.
Mike was my friend- we deployed in 2012-13. It was my first deployment, his 2nd. He had deployed with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in 2010-11 and endured some of the worst fighting and losses of any unit in Afghanistan during the war. Mike lost friends and saw things no one should ever have to.
On our deployment, we were essentially packing up all the Marine Corps’ gear and shipping it home. Mike talked a lot about how he missed being with the grunts and doing real combat missions. But at the same time, I know that deployment was good for him, to not have to go through more death and loss and trauma. We were able to just work, go to the gym, and hang out for 6 months, and that’s what he needed then.
Mike was a jokester and trash talker- and he was good at it. We’d have constant roast sessions and he’d always find something to give you a hard time about. He’d always have a clever comment or quip.
Mike lost his Mom when he was 3 years old. He came to this country when he was 9 and had to learn English, and a whole new culture. And he went on to serve his new country. When he was in Guinea he’d walk 30 miles to get to school. Mike came from an immigrant family- his given name was Mamadou. I remember he always played himself off as this hard dude from Chicago and called himself Mike- but one day I saw his ID and his real name, so we all gave him a hard time about it, like he would to us.
It was on that deployment that he became a US citizen. I remember how proud he was of that.
Mike had struggles too- because of what he saw and experienced in combat, and other things, he struggled with alcohol and finding a path for himself in life. He lost good friends and saw horrific violence and tragedies in Afghanistan. But he was fighting and doing his best to make it through every day. I know he wanted to get better and be successful.
Mike came from a tough background, and he had led a tough life. He didn’t always have the best people around him to support him and help him. I know the Marine Corps was really a big support network for him, to be surrounded by friends who loved him and cared about his wellbeing. Losing that was difficult for him.
I had spoken with him back in February for quite a while and told him I was going to come down and visit him. He had been considering moving out of Chicago to get a fresh start, and I had told him I’d like to see him before he left. Well, I never made that happen. I will regret it for the rest of my life. To know that I’ll never be able to talk to him or see him again is pain that I just don’t even want to think about.
Mike, you were a good man, a good Marine, and a good friend. You didn’t deserve to die like this, no one does. Thinking about what must have been going through your mind in those final moments just makes me cry.
I will miss you and think of you often. I wish that you were still here. I hope that your spirit is at peace now. You fought your battles like the warrior that you were. You don’t have to fight them anymore. I love you man.”
Featured photo: Mamadou Balde and Ryan Munn