WASHINGTON - WMATA’s General Manager Randy Clarke took questions Thursday on safety after both the Metro Center and Benning Road stations saw shootings in less than 24 hours.
The Metro Center shooting involved an off-duty FBI special agent shooting and killing a 28-year-old man in an altercation that included the two falling 8 feet behind the platform before the agent fired shots.
At Benning Road, a 15-year-old was shot in the leg and two bystanders – a woman and another teen – were also shot. Police are still searching for three teenage suspects.
"We don’t want what’s probably going on in China with a million police officers trying to barricade people in. We are a Democracy. Right, wrong or indifferent, we have interpretations of gun laws that have created where we’re at," Clarke told reporters Thursday. " I don’t think this is being political in nature: we have a gun problem in America. That’s not Metro’s problem. We are impacted by that, but there are shootings all over the place in America … And I’m tired of it."
On Thursday, D.C. Police identified the man shot and killed by the off-duty FBI agent as 28-year-old Troy Bullock of Southeast D.C.
Police said the shooting took place around 6:20 p.m. Wednesday. Bullock allegedly pushed the agent over a Red Line platform wall in an altercation. The FBI agent fired shots after, and authorities said they also found a gun on Bullock.
In an exclusive interview, Bullock’s aunt told FOX 5 that the family still does not know what led to the fight. They also did not know the 28-year-old to be armed and are having a hard time getting answers as the FBI is now also investigating.
"He has family members who care about him. We don’t know what happened," said Sherlene Bullock Turnage, who drove up from St. Mary’s County to speak about her nephew. "We want answers because we teach our children you know non-violence. Yeah we may get into altercations but we don’t want them to use weapons, we don’t’ want no one killed. So why he not here? Just because you had a weapon on hear, that don’t mean you have to shoot," said Sherlene Bullock Turnage, who drove up from St. Mary’s County to speak about her nephew.
The family wants to know why the agent had to use lethal force and is hoping witnesses can help them piece the altercation together.
"The FBI special agent involved in a shooting at Metro Center on Wednesday, Dec. 7, remains in the hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The FBI’s Inspection Division continues to investigate the incident in cooperation with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The FBI cannot provide additional information due to the ongoing investigation," the FBI Washington Field Office shared in a statement.
Online, those who were on the platform described the ground shaking as a stampede of people rushed out of the station, running for their lives.
A Metro spokesperson told FOX 5 that the Red Line train operator was hailed a hero for not stopping her train when she saw the shooting. She was still shaken up by the shooting on Thursday. Her frantic call for help could be heard on the dispatch recording site, "OpenMHz."
Witnesses to both shootings told FOX 5 on Thursday they do not want to go back on Metro after facing this violence.
Metro safety was also the topic of conversation during WMATA’s Thursday board meeting. Transportation leaders showed stats, saying assaults are trending down. Clarke said the agency is hiring more crisis intervention specialists and have 25% more police patrols on trains, increasing visibility to deter crime.
"I will still say Metro’s clearly still the safest part of our entire region," Clarke said.
A witness to the Benning Road Station, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns for his safety, told FOX 5 over the phone: "My response is, who are you asking?"
"I’m trembling inside as I’m speaking to you," said the man, who added, "things look different depending on where you’re sitting. Go out and ask the real people who ride every day."