As passengers looked on, one man shot another man to death aboard a Metro train pulling into D.C.’s Waterfront station Sunday morning, D.C. police said, an incident that comes less than two weeks after a teen was gunned down on a platform in the Wheaton station and as statistics show crime is soaring in the Metro system.
The shooting occurred aboard a Green Line train about 11:45 a.m., but the incident began at a previous station platform, Assistant Chief Andre Wright of the D.C. police said at an afternoon news conference.
Wright said the victim and the assailant got into an argument at the L’Enfant Plaza station, where the assailant boarded the train. The two men continued to argue, and the gunman fired multiple shots into the victim as the train headed to the Waterfront station, where the suspect fled the train, Wright said.
The train then continued to the Navy Yard station, where police were summoned, Wright said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The gunman was still at large Sunday afternoon, but Wright said that police had a “person of interest” and that passengers on the train had stayed at the station to provide eyewitness accounts. It was not immediately clear whether the gunman and victim knew each other, Wright said.
The slaying was the second fatal shooting this month in the Metro system. On May 18, Tenneson Vaughn Leslie Jr., 18, was shot in the head as he ran away from two assailants on a Metro platform in Wheaton, authorities said. A 16-year-old, Emmanuel L. Simmonds, was arrested Wednesday and charged as an adult with second-degree murder and other counts, while a 14-year-old was charged as an accessory in the juvenile court system, authorities said.
And in February, a Metro employee who tried to stop a gunman targeting commuters was fatally shot inside the Potomac Avenue Metro station in Southeast. Authorities said the gunman approached a woman after a series of incidents outside the station, and Robert Cunningham, 64, a Metro power department worker, witnessed the altercation and tried to intervene, police said. The gunman then shot Cunningham, who died at the scene.
Crime this year in the Metro system, which includes buses, trains, parking lots and other Metro facilities, is far above where it was at this time last year, according to Metro Transit Police statistics. Through the end of April, there had been four homicides this year compared with none last year, and 85 aggravated assaults, compared with 63 in the first four months of 2022.
Robberies are up 155 percent, from 59 last year to 151 through April of this year, and larcenies have also doubled, from 93 in the first four months of last year to 201 this year. More than half of the crimes against people committed in the Metro system so far this year occurred in the rail system, which is typical in recent years, Metro police statistics show.
Arrests for all crimes are also up significantly, according to police, with 919 through April compared with 486 for the same period last year. The Metro police statistics show calls for service have also greatly increased, from about 15,500 through April last year compared with almost 22,000 so far this year, a more than 40 percent jump.