Authorities are looking for a person of interest after a black male assaulted a fellow passenger aboard a D.C. Metro train Monday afternoon heading to Prince George’s Plaza.
Metro Transit Police officers reported the attack Monday night and posted a picture of the person of interest in the case. The suspect, who wore an orange t-shirt, assaulted a passenger who suffered non-life threatening injuries, reports WUSA9.
— Metro Transit Police (@MetroTransitPD) July 12, 2016
Metro officials came under criticism last week after authorities left a June 30 assault unreported, despite promising the public they would begin tweeting out alerts of violent crimes in the Metro system as they take place. (RELATED: DC Metro’s Transparency Called Into Question Over ‘Profoundly Disturbing’ Safety Concerns)
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld directed police in May to broadcast any violent events to the public on the same day, as long as it does not interfere with the police investigation. A woman raped at knife point aboard a train in April prompted the decision after the assault went unreported to the public for over a month.
A Metro official responded to criticism Friday over failure to report the most recent assault, saying the definition of a violent crime does not include every crime that occurs in the Metro system. In the June 30 assault, the man suffered non-life threatening injuries which were treated at a hospital, which was not considered a crime worth reporting under Metro guidelines. (RELATED: Woman Sexually Assaulted Aboard DC Metro Train In Alexandria)
It is likely Monday’s assault would have also gone unreported if not for the backlash against D.C. Metro officials over their crime alert parameters.
A Metro spokesman said in May crime is up year-over-year by about 10 percent and is increasing. Several grisly crimes on the Metro this year stoked rider fears and led to an increased police presence at stations and more patrols.
An 18-year-old stabbed another teen to death in the Deanwood Metro station in April and a gunman shot a teenage girl in the leg outside the Anocostia station in late May. Authorities reported another sexual assault aboard a train in early June after three unidentified black males demanded a woman perform a sex act.
Police are fearful Metro’s 10-month repair plan could lead to increased crimes around stations, especially close to closing. SafeTrack closes stations throughout the system at midnight every night to allow for nighttime maintenance. Authorities fear passengers waiting outside stations for alternate transport after hours could present an easy target for criminals.
Metro officials will make their 24-hour police blotter available to the public in October to allow quicker commuter access to key crime and safety information.
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