One worker for the D.C. Metro is now being lauded as a hero after he was killed attempting to put a stop to a gunman during a shooting that swept through a train station this past Wednesday morning and resulted in the injury of three other people.
Later identified as 64-year-old mechanic Robert Cunningham, the worker ended up fatally shot as he and another employee tried to intervene in a fight between one male individual waving around a gun and a woman cowering on the platform of the Potomac Avenue station in Washington, D.C., explained area police officials.
“His heroism has to be recognized here today,” explained the executive assistant chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, Ashan Benedict, as part of a press conference held alongside D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser among a few others.
Investigators are still attempting to put together what exactly took place, including trying to discover a motive, but Benedict expl[ained to the media that the suspect seemed to be highly “agitated” over something currently unknown. Benedict stated that police forces think the gunman first fire on someone and hit them in the leg while riding a Metrobus before shooting someone else attempting to buy a farecard at the station, also in the leg.
While standing on the platform, in the wake of Cunningham being shot, Benedict stated that the second employee seemed to have found success in their attempts to de-escalate the issue. The gunman got onto and off of a train, which never ended up leaving the station, prior to other people rushing and tackling him, stated Benedict. Upon finally making it to the scene, police forces were able to pull the suspect into custody.
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Benedict explained that the wounded victims — of which there are three in total — were getting necessary treatment. Their injuries do not seem to be at all life-threatening. Benedict also called on by-standing witnesses to step forward and assist with their ongoing investigation.
It has been noted that the national capital kicked off the new year with a shocking spike in crime. In a release, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority general manager and CEO, Randy Clarke, sounded the horn for an end to the ongoing gun violence while also speaking out about the heroic sacrifice displayed by Cunningham.
“Today, I feel profound sadness about the loss of our Metro family member, Robert Cunningham. We grieve for our employee, his family, and all who have been affected by this senseless tragedy,” he stated. “I appreciate the outpouring of support Metro has received today. Gun violence must stop. Unfortunately, Metro is not immune to the violence that our country is experiencing right now. These senseless acts must be addressed together by our leaders and community. We will take time to process this loss and take care of our employees. We are all hurting and will continue to lean on each other for support.”
Metro has stated that it has lowered its flags to half-staff as a way to honor Cunningham.
Cunningham has also received praise from Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President John Costa, stating, “I want to express our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the family and the loved ones of our fallen hero brother, who was tragically shot to death trying to stop the shooter.”