RIP Aunt Sally

he robber had to time it just right. 

Snatch the iPhone as the train pulled up to the platform and the doors opened, creating a quick getaway.

It’s among the most common crimes on the CTA, with the exploding popularity of smartphones that command high prices on the black market.

But this time, in a deadly turn, the fleeing robber hit Sally Katona-King, 68, who was walking up the stairs to the platform at the Fullerton Avenue ‘L’ station, knocking her down the steps. She died from the fall the next day.,0,3756316.story


Funeral Held for Deacon Killed After Fall at CTA Stop

Saturday, Apr 2, 2011 | Updated 2:57 PM CDT
Sally Katona-King’s church leaders and her daughter reflect on the woman who was pushed down the stairs at a CTA El stop. 


Roughly 200 mourners gathered Saturday morning to remember the life of a woman who was killed following a fall down the stairs at the Chicago Transit Authority’s Fullerton stop this week.

A short funeral service for Sally Katona-King was held at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Hillside.

Her daughter, Eileen Katona, said her mother was devoted to her community, praised her art of baking and lamented that so many of the plans her mother had made for the year would not happen.

A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 a.m., at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Logan Square, where she served as deacon.

The 68-year-old was killed when a fleeing robber barreled through a group of commuters after stealing an iPhone.  Her death has been labeled a homicide.

Police are still searching for the robber.

Bishop Wayne Miller told those gathered at Saturday’s service that Katona-King would want to see her killer held responsible for his actions, redeem himself and make his life better.

An updated description of the thief, released Thursday, said he’s a black man between the ages of 17 and 25.  He stands between 5 feet, 11 inches and 6 feet, inches and weighs between 170 to 221 pounds.

He was wearing a black hat, blue jeans, and a black jacket with the letters “WS” written vertically on the back, police said.

Anyone with information about the man in the sketch or the incident should call detectives at 312-744-8262.



A Chicago church deacon who volunteered in homeless shelters and “would give the shirt off her back” to people in need died Tuesday, after someone stole another person’s iPhone at the Fullerton L stop, knocking her down the stairs while he made his escape.

Sally Katona-King, 68, was on her way home from her job as a church receptionist Tuesday when she fell down the stairs during a robbery and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, the Chicago Tribune reports. She reportedly lost a lot of blood on the scene, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

“To die over an iPhone? It’s senseless,” her son, David King, told the Tribune.

Katona-King maintained her generosity and compassion despite several major tragedies in her life, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Her first marriage failed, and her second husband was murdered in an armed robbery in 1971. At 29 years old, she was widowed and raising three children alone, according to the paper.

Jeff Drake, an associate to the Bishop at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church where the victim worked, told NBC Chicago that everyone loved Katona-King, and that she was always happy to help others. She reportedly found the church in the 1980’s when her 2-year-old grandson died in a fire, and worked there ever since.

“She loved people,” he said. “She cared about everyone.”

The iPhone thief who caused Katona-King’s death was still at large Wednesday morning. Police issued an alert describing him as a black man between the ages of 17 and 30, standing between 5-foot-6 and 6-foot-4. Police said he weighs between 130 and 210 pounds and was wearing a black hat, blue jeans and a black jacket with the letters “WS” on the back during the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to contact Belmont Area detectives at (312) 744-8262.


She wasn’t the saint the papers made her out to be, but she surely deserved a better death.

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