A gunman went on a rampage in southeastern D.C. Wednesday morning, shooting what appeared to be at random after an altercation between a bus and the Potomac Avenue subway station.
In the end, authorities said one subway employee was killed and three others were injured. A suspected gunman was overpowered by passengers on a subway train and taken into custody.
The Metropolitan Police Department held a press conference to provide an update on the shooting. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metro General Manager Randy Clarke and Metro Transit Police leaders were also on hand.
“We believe this is a series of individual incidents,” MPD Executive Assistant Police Chief Ashan Benedict said.
It all started on a Metrobus around 9am on Wednesday. During the altercation, the suspect followed the victims out of the car and shot them in the legs. The man fled and was taken to hospital, police said.
Excited shooter enters Potomac Avenue subway station. He spoke to someone who was buying MetroCards at a ticket machine, and shot them in the leg. He may have also pulled the victim through the turnstiles, according to police.
The suspect continued down the escalator and got into an altercation with a woman on the station platform. Two Metro Transit employees watch as the process unfolds. One of them tried to intervene and was shot dead by the gunman.
The employee died at the scene.
A second WMATA employee also tried to defuse the situation. Police believe he was successful in doing so, as no one else was shot after the intervention.
The gunman then got on and off the train several times.
“Similar to what happened on the bus, he was walking around brandishing a gun and talking to people casually. He was clearly upset about something. We don’t know for sure at this point — it’s going to take some time to investigate,” Benedict said .
Benedict said he came across passengers who were stuck on the stopped train before he was caught. Passengers then fled the scene. The suspect was standing alone on the platform when he was captured.
“Our officers were there within minutes of the call for services. But because of the heroic actions of our citizens, our community, disarming this shooter – I can’t pay for that. I think they saved lives . That’s commendable. But the fact that our citizens have to intervene with armed gunmen disturbs me,” Benedict said.
Three victims are in hospital. Two people were injured in their legs and one had a finger, according to police.
The slain subway employee has been identified as 64-year-old Robert Cunningham. According to a Metro release, he was a mechanic in the electrical department.
Metro general manager Randy Clarke described Cunningham as a “true hero”.
There was a heavy police presence at the intersection of Potomac Avenue and 14th Street following the incident.
Blue, Orange and Silver Line train service between Southwest Station at the Federal Center and Minnesota Avenue Station was suspended while police investigated. Shuttle buses are available during suspension of service, subway traffic police tweets.
The recent spate of subway shootings
News4’s transportation reporter Adam Tuss explains the station’s policing efforts after police said one person was killed and three were injured following a shooting at the Potomac Avenue subway station in southeastern DC
The Potomac Avenue shooting continued a recent spate of shootings at subway stations.
On December 7, an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed someone on the Metro Center platform. In another incident the next day, a teenager opened fire on three people at Benning Road station.
January. A teenager was killed and another was injured in a targeted shooting at Capitol Heights Station on the 3rd.
January. On the 7th, a man was shot and killed outside the Navy Yard subway station.
Subway riders have expressed concern for their safety in the wake of the latest violence, at a time when the Washington Metro Transit Authority is trying to recover riders lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is breaking news. The story will be updated. The previous version of the story follows.