DC Metro Mechanic Sacrifices Life To Protect Commuter From Shooter

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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A man fatally shot a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) employee who intervened to protect a woman in a D.C. station Wednesday morning, according to law enforcement.

Authorities explained the gunman, who investigators identified as 31-year-old Isaiah Trotman, went into the Potomac Avenue Metro Station and shot a commuter after shooting a different commuter he had just disputed with on a bus, CNN reported. The gunman subsequently shot power department mechanic Robert Cunningham when he attempted to intervene as the gunman aimed at a female commuter. (RELATED: Police Say They Narrowly Avoided Potential Mass Shooting After Officers Shot Gunman)

“His heroism has to be recognized here today,” Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict said of Cunningham at a Wednesday press conference. Benedict reported that a second WMATA employee engaged the shooter and attempted to deescalate the situation after Cunningham was shot, adding, “I believe he successfully does so, because no one was shot after this individual was shot.”

Law enforcement reported passengers ultimately tackled and disarmed the gunman after he entered a Metro rail car, according to CNN. Trotman is charged with first degree murder while armed, kidnapping while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon, MPD reported.

“On behalf of the Metro Board, words cannot express how saddened we are to learn about the death of Mr. Cunningham,” the Metro Board of Directors Chair Paul Smedberg said. “We understand that the employee acted with extreme bravery to help a customer who was being threatened by the shooter.”

Cunningham was 64 years old, WMATA reported. The agency lowered its flags to half-staff following his death.

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