A gunman went on a rampage Wednesday morning in Southeast D.C., shooting people seemingly at random after altercations on a public bus and at the Potomac Avenue Metro station.
In the end, authorities said a Metro employee was killed and three other people were injured. The suspected shooter was tackled by passengers on the Metro train and is in custody.
The Metropolitan Police Department held a press conference to provide updates on the shooting. D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metro’s GM Randy Clarke and Metro Transit Police leaders were also at the scene.
“We believe this to be a series of individual events,” MPD Executive Assistant Chief of Police Ashan Benedict said.
It all began around 9 a.m. Wednesday on a Metrobus. The suspect was in an argument, followed the victim off the bus, and then shot them in the legs. That person ran off and was transported to a hospital, police said.
The agitated shooter made his way into the Potomac Avenue Metrorail station. He talked to someone getting a MetroCard at a fare machine and shot them in the legs. He may have also pulled the victim over the turnstiles, according to police.
The suspect continued down the escalator and got in an altercation with a woman on the station’s platform. Two Metro Transit employees were watching this unfold. One of them attempted to intervene and was shot by the shooter.
The employee died at the scene. His identity was not immediately released.
A second WMATA employee also tried to deescalate the situation. Police believe he did so successfully, because no one else was shot after the intervention.
The shooter then got on and off the train several times.
“Similar to the situation on the bus, he’s walking around brandishing a firearm, and just randomly engaging people in conversation. He’s clearly agitated about something. We’re just not sure at this point – that’s going to take some time, the investigation,” Benedict said.
Benedict said he confronted passengers stuck on the stopped train before being tackled. The passengers then fled the scene. The suspect on the platform alone when he was taken into custody.
“Our officers were there within minutes of getting the call for service. But due to the heroic actions of our citizens, of our community, to disarm this shooter – I can’t put a price on that. I think they saved lives. That’s to be commended. But the fact that our citizens have to intervene with armed gunmen is disturbing to me,” Benedict said.
Three victims are in the hospital. Two have leg injuries and one has an injured finger, according to police.
Metro’s GM Randy Clarke described the employee as a “really heroic individual.” He said it is a really sad day for the company.
There was a large police presence at the intersection of Potomac Avenue and 14th Street following the incident.
Blue, Orange and Silver Line train service is suspended between the Federal Center SW and Minnesota Avenue stations while police investigate. Shuttle buses are available while service is suspended, the Metro Transit Police tweeted.
Spate of Metro Shootings Recently
News4’s Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss explains policing on Metro stations after police said one person died, and three others were injured in a shooting at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station in Southeast D.C.
The Potomac Avenue shooting continues a recent string of shootings in Metro stations.
On Dec. 7, an off-duty FBI agent fatally shot someone on the Metro Center station platform. In a separate incident the next day, a teenager shot three people at the Benning Road station.
On Jan. 3, one teenager was killed, and another was injured in a targeted shooting at the Congress Heights station.
On Jan. 7, a man was shot and killed right outside the Navy Yard Metro station.
Metro riders have expressed concerns about their safety in the wake of the recent violence, at a time when the Washington Metro Transit Authority is attempting to win back riders lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a breaking news story. Story will be updated. Previous version of the story is below.