New details on suspect responsible for CTA Pink Line explosion, injuring several riders

CHICAGO (CBS) — There are new details about a frightening attack on the CTA Pink Line.

A passenger detonated an explosive on a moving train. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports the blast was so powerful, there were holes in the ceiling of the train car. 

Prosecutors said the man entered a train car with a scooter and a beer. He then looked at several passengers, telling them they had until the Cicero Avenue station to leave or he was going to blow up the train car.

His name is Erik Tolayo-Flores, the man prosecutors said used a lighter to ignite an explosive device on a CTA Pink line train at around 8:30 Sunday night on the 1900 block of S. Kedzie. 

Prosecutors said he got on a westbound train car, pulled out the lighter and detonated some sort of explosive device while it was in his right hand.

It was all captured on a CTA surveillance camera inside the train. Prosecutors said Tolayo-Flores did this while he was close to several witnesses and passengers. He also identified himself in still images from the video and admitted lighting a firework, when he knew people were on the train.

“The explosion was of such a magnitude that it punctured several holes in the ceiling of the train car, and caused witness one, two and three to sustain hearing damage that has since somewhat improved but still persists,” said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly. 

Tolayo-Flores’ injuries were so severe, he may be facing a third surgery on his hand. When paramedics were treating him, they found a second explosive device on him. This one was an eight inch by one inch black tube, with white endcaps and a green fuse.

The judge denied bond for Tolayo-Flores, citing a recent drug charge and a past charge for concealing a death. Prosecutors said in 2018 he concealed a friend’s death, by putting him in his garage, under blankets, insulation and a mattress as the body decomposed. 

CBS 2 asked CTA to respond to questions regarding the incident but the CTA had no comment