Just three days before Jamar Jason Taylor was killed by Amtrak police in a rush-hour shootout inside Union Station, the convicted felon was allegedly caught on video carrying out a fatal shooting in northern California, court records show.
Taylor, 33, of San Leandro, California, had hopped an Amtrak train from his home state Tuesday, the same day a warrant was issued for his arrest for the murder in nearby Oakland, according to court documents obtained by the Sun-Times. A document for probable cause, filed Tuesday in Alameda County, California, shows that Taylor was sought in the fatal shooting Saturday morning in Oakland.
About 9:20 a.m. that night, Oakland police officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert in the 8800 block of International Boulevard and found someone suffering from a gunshot wound that proved fatal, the document states. The East Bay Times, a local newspaper, identified the victim as a 55-year-old man.
Officers ultimately recovered “clear high definition” video surveillance footage of Taylor and a “suspect vehicle,” according to the document for probable cause.
The warrant shows that Taylor was being sought for murder, illegally possessing a gun as a felon and a host of other allegations. He was on probation at the time of his death.
Taylor already had one strike under California law, according to the warrant, meaning he had already been convicted of a violent or serious felony. His previous convictions included making criminal threats, attempted grand theft person, second-degree commercial burglary and driving under the influence, according to the warrant.
Tom Ahern, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said a law enforcement agency in California alerted Amtrak Police that Taylor was headed to Chicago on a train from northern California and that he was wanted on multiple warrants, including the one for murder.
“They checked the manifest and corroborate that information and then are waiting for him here,” Ahern said of Amtrak Police.
When Amtrak officers confronted Taylor after he got off the train at Union Station, he started running and knocked over a couple Amtrak employees before firing a shot at one of the officers, Ahern said. The officer then returned fire, striking him in the chest.
Taylor was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and later pronounced dead, according to Ahern and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered at the scene, Ahern said.
The Amtrak employee suffered minor injuries, and an Amtrak officer was also taken to the hospital for evaluation, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said. No other injuries were reported.
Ahern noted that CPD investigators conducted interviews at the scene, took the initial case report and are now “working jointly with the Amtrak police.” Magliari said Chicago police will complete its report and provide it to Amtrak’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which reviews use-of-force incidents like the fatal officer-involved shooting.
It’s still unclear why the Amtrak officers were charged with intercepting a felon wanted for murder, instead of the U.S. Marshals Service, which assists state and local agencies in apprehending violent fugitives.
Magliari directed questions about the deployment of the marshals to the federal agency, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.