Suspect charged after fight leads to man being killed by SEPTA train in University City

Saturday, January 6, 2024
Suspect charged after fight leads to man being killed by SEPTA train
Suspect charged after fight leads to man being killed by SEPTA train

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A man has been charged after a fight on a SEPTA platform in the University City section of Philadelphia caused the victim to fall onto the tracks, where was struck and killed by a train.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said 40-year-old Chaz Wearing, who has no fixed address, is in custody and charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Chaz Wearing

Charges are subject to change if new information is obtained by authorities, the district attorney's office said Friday.

Wearing has a warrant for a strangulation case in Delaware County, and the D.A.'s office said his criminal history spans other Pennsylvania counties including Clinton County and Lycoming County.

"Both of the individuals involved in this were not using the system for its intended purpose," said SEPTA's Chief of Police Chuck Lawson.

The deadly incident happened at the 34th Street Station around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Video that has surfaced on social media shows two males involved in a fight. Police confirm they are reviewing the video as part of their investigation.

At one point, one of the men involved punches the other, forcing him to fall onto the tracks. Moments later, the train on the Market-Frankford Line hits the man, killing him.

A SEPTA spokesperson told Action News the man who was seen on video throwing a punch, now identified as Wearing, was taken into custody at 40th and Market streets.

"We have a history with the offender in this case. We certainly know him from other contacts, a long criminal history. The victim in this case we really had no prior contacts with. However, he had also a long criminal history," Lawson said.

The person who was killed has not been identified.

"We had transit police at the station at the time. They had just left the platform that's how quick this occurred," Lawson said.

Riders say violence on the transit system is ongoing.

"It's not too surprising," said Jennifer McCray, from Upper Darby. "It has increased a lot in the past few years, especially post-pandemic. I think there could be more police presence to contain the crowd and violence."

SEPTA said it is working on a plan to reach out to unhoused people on its system, but legally not much more can be done on its part.

"We're struggling to get our hands around those folks and as it stands neither me and the transit police department, or SEPTA as a whole is going to solve those problems by ourselves. We need help," Lawson said.

Police are still investigating what sparked the altercation. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police.

RELATED: Check the 6abc Neighborhood Safety Tracker