A Metro transit system employee in Washington, DC, was shot and killed trying to stop a gunman from targeting commuters Wednesday morning, police say.
Robert Cunningham, a mechanic in the power department, was identified by police as the person “who intervened on behalf of a customer … at Potomac Avenue Station and was a victim of senseless gun violence,” according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on Wednesday.
At least two other people were shot and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and a suspect has been arrested, authorities said.
The shootings began shortly after 9 a.m. ET Wednesday on a Metrobus in southeastern Washington, when the gunman got in an altercation with a man on the bus. The two men got off the bus and the gunman shot that commuter, police said.
Then, the gunman entered the Potomac Avenue Metro Station and shot and injured a second commuter, police said. When the gunman aimed his weapon next at a female commuter, Cunningham tried to intervene and the gunman shot and killed him, police said.
The gunman then boarded a Metro rail car, investigators said, and passengers tackled him and “were able to disarm” him. Officers detained him soon afterward, police said.
Isaiah Trotman, 31, of Washington, DC, was identified by investigators as the gunman, and was arrested on charges of first degree murder while armed, kidnapping while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon, police said
The transit authority said of Cunningham in a statement: “Metro is mourning the loss of a heroic employee.”
“Words cannot express how saddened we are to learn about the death of Mr. Cunningham,” Paul C. Smedberg, chairman of the authority’s board, said. “We understand that the employee acted with extreme bravery to help a customer who was being threatened by the shooter. ”
A fourth person also sustained a hand injury during the incident, according to police.