Massive Police Response at Takoma Metro this Morning

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jordan Barab

Multiple readers report:

“There was a massive police response at the Takoma Metro Station at about 9:55 AM today, roughly 8-10 vehicles with lights and sirens, officers running into the station with some apparent urgency. Any idea what that was about?”

One witness writes:

“Wondering if anyone has info on an incident that happened around 10am at the Takoma metro station – I was on a train headed towards Silver Spring when the doors opened at Takoma a young African American male flung himself into my train car about 2 feet from me screaming “HELP ME! HELP ME!” there was a woman on top of him screaming “GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!” and then I noticed the gun in her hands.

She was in plain clothes – though the way she was talking made me think she was police (she never identified herself as police though) and she had a gun in her hand as she was wrestling with the male.

I ran to the back of the train car and huddled with the other passengers while this went on for a good 5-10 mins. She was screaming for the train operator to close the doors but he couldnt because the male was trying to crawl into our car to get away from the woman.
Finally he got the doors closed and we pulled out of the station leaving them there on the platform.”

Replying to a listserv inquiry MPD wrote:

“Metro Transit Police Officers needed assistance with subduing a suspect. MPD officers arrived on the scene to assist.”

Update from Metro Transit Police:

“Shortly before 10am a Metro Transit Police officer was pursuing a subject for fare evasion. The subject became violently combative with the officer and the officer called for back up. Additional MPD and MTPD units responded. OC spray was deployed and both the officer and subject were treated for exposure. An arrest was made.”

55 Comment

  • It sure has been an exciting couple weeks in the vicinity. I had to call 911 on a lady who followed me home from the bus stop yesterday evening screaming that I was intimidated by her, that she was not intimidating (ironic) and that she would kill me (super ironic). Good times.

    • Ugh. And I was groped a block away from the metro just a few weeks ago too. Hope you called the cops with a description…

      • Yup. I made sure to get a good look once I was (sort of) safe on my porch. Cops drove around the block and down the alley for a good portion of the evening. The uptick in violence has finally resulted in uptick in police presence. But it took the murder on Sunday morning to finally draw them in.

  • OK, newbie question here. If someone in plain clothes is threatening someone else in plain clothes with a gun, how do you know not to interfere? What if the next thing was a bullet through the kid’s head and the other person off and running?

    • Seems like in either case you’re better off not interfering here.

    • Very good question. I’d say stand back and call 911. If someone has a gun, interfering could be very dangerous.

    • Ummmm, I’m pretty sure if you interfere, you’re gonna be the one with a bullet in your head.

      • So if someone was pointing a gun at me and you had pepper spray on you, you’d do nothing? Of course I wouldn’t expect someone to jump in front of a bullet, but there can be times when a bystander can step in.

        Anon MPDs?? Any help here?

        • HaileUnlikely

          Interference on my part might get me, you, and/or an uninvolved bystander shot. Several months ago a man was shot to death in a robbery-gone-wrong in Brightwood. Robbery consisted of one gunman, one of gunman’s buddies, and 3 victims; gunman had the gun up against one victim’s head, another of the victims shoved the gunman, and the gun went off and killed the third victim. Maybe the shove wasn’t the ideal technique, but I would not assume that my attempt to interfere would yield any better of a result than that one did.

          • and yet there was just the French train attack, where if you don’t stop someone, we might all be the next victim.

          • HaileUnlikely

            That scenario was fundamentally different than two individuals engaged in a one-on-one struggle. In this case, if some bystander had more balls and less brains, they may well have tackled and disarmed a plain-clothes cop and enabled the suspect to gain the upper hand.

        • Agree 100% here. Unless you are LEO or military and trained how to disarm someone safely and effectively, attacking someone with a gun is a good way to get yourself and others killed.
          Sure, there are rare situations where someone is shooting at it makes sense to get the gun out of their hands at all costs. But in 99% of the cases someone pulls a gun out (e.g. to mug you) they won’t use it. Attacking will only put everyone’s life at risk.

        • So a few things. First, plainclothes officers wear their badge around their neck and they’re supposed to display it when taking police action. Sometimes things get busy and your hands aren’t free to pull it out. But they are wearing their badge around their necks, or sometimes clipped to their belt.

          Second, if you have pepper spray and they have a gun, you will lose that battle. Gun beats pepper spray all day. Additionally, an armed person is bad, but a blind armed person who is in intense pain is worse.

    • Newbie – my suggestion to anyone in a situation where a gun is drawn is GTFO of the situation and then call 911.

    • Yeah, just like everyone else said. I’m not sure what you have in mind when you say “interfere”, but it’s probably a bad idea whether the person holding the gun is a good guy or a bad guy.

    • I would call 911 if I saw this, but I would not get involved in a struggle with a gun unless I knew what the situation was and who all the characters were. (It sounds like this person may have had mental illness issues, although of course, I can’t know for sure. It just sounds it REALLY escalated for simple fare evasion.)

    • I was on the train and witnessed some of the altercation: the lady was aiming the gun in our direction and it was really scary, everyone on the train was crouching on the floor, we had no idea she was a cop, not a crazy lady, and the other guy, was he the victim ? our train departed, we had no idea what was going on, but having a gun in open space with so many people around is putting to many people in danger to my opinion.

  • In my experience, not just as a 20 year DC resident, but also a foreign aid worker who specializes in working in conflict zones: when the guns come out, it’s time to get you, your loved ones and any kids out of the way and call for the professionals to sort it out.

    • that’s the problem. Guns come out WAY too easily… I got one pulled on me by a undercover cop because I took too long trying to find my keys to open my parking gate in the alley behind my house. The keys fell between the seats, so as I was fishing around to get them, an unmarked cop car comes behind me and barely gives me a chance to say “I live here and was looking for my keys, do you need me to move so you can get by?” before there was a gun in my face… I was so jaded i guess, the reality of it all didn’t hit me until I was inside my house. If the cop had shot, I’d be the girl who got shot while looking for her house keys… My black jeep and an open car door would have been the motive. This is outrageous.

      • That’s totally ridiculous. I can see being on guard until you understand the situation, but a drawn gun is overboard.

        • As police officer when I conduct a traffic stop and the driver and or passenger is fishing around for what ever on the floor as I approach I would draw my weapon.

          1. Keep in mind a good portion of gun carrying criminals keep their weapons hidden but in arms reach I.E. Floor under the seat or arm rest.
          2. With ambush style police killings on the rise, hesitation can be potentially fatal. With that being said I’m glad your ok. Obvisously that officer didn’t have a itchy trigger finger.
          3. The best thing you can do is wait until the officer makes his/ her approach and makes contact with you, so you can explain what ever issue your having.

          • Are “ambush style police killings” really on the rise? Numbers, please. And then compare those numbers with the numbers of people getting shot by police. There is zero point zero excuse to drawing a gun on a person looking for their keys to their freaking gate.

          • In the comment you’re responding to, the driver not only had not been pulled over, but didn’t even know the police officer was present. The officer pulled up behind her while she was looking for her keys. Does this mean that we can never fish between our car seats for fear of scaring a police officer?

  • A GUN for fare evasion?????!!! Get your life DC! This is ludicrous… F***ing $1.65 is NOT worth another dead body. I weep for this country. I really do.

    • I weep for your lack of reading comprehension skills. A gun was drawn because the criminal not only evaded the fare, but then became “violently combative” with the female responding officer. He’s lucky he wasn’t shot.

    • What happened was this escalated and the fare evader tried to push the metro police officers onto the rails. Then the officer pulled out the gun when they acted violently. If you act violently towards a police officer, they are going to brandish a weapon because you just escalated. Considering one of the kids pepper sprayed the officer…yeah…these kids were acting violently. They are lucky they did not get shot. They are going to have both several assault charges filed against them, and attempted murder (trying to push somebody onto the tracks). They will deserve each and every one of those charges, and I hope they end up in prison for a very long time. DC can have far fewer of these violent offenders on the streets. The cops were right to call backup, and they were right to pull out the gun.

  • Umm, gun drawn and subduing this guy for fare evasion??? Isn’t that a bit drastic of a response??

    • No. It’s long overdue.

      • I agree. the gun was not drawn for fare evasion, it sounds like it was for resisting arrest and being “violently combative” If the fare evasion wasn’t such a big deal, then why did the kid run or resist arrest?

        When a cop asks you to do something… you should do it or slowly and calmly explain why you can not comply.

        While there are some bad cops out there, i think the majority of them are good people trying to do a very difficult job.

        • Yup, the fare evasion was what got the officer to try to stop the person, his violent response is what caused the officer to pull her gun. I really hope this is the beginning of a crack down to make Metro better.

        • Most cops were former high school bullies, jocks, and GED takers. It’s scary to think that they are in charge of out safety. Also, there was a time when a LEO’s main purpose was to severe and protect. We had a nice cop that would visit our school when I was a kid. We called him officer friendly. I unfortunately can’t say that about cops today. I guess all the good ones retired. The other day I had to stop when I heard a police car’s siren. After the cop passed me and crossed the intersection he turned off his lights and went into a shopping center were he parked at the 7eleven lol. That says it all. BTW, it wasn’t an emergency because he was on his cell phone while driving. Until I start seeing changes in the police department I stand by my opinion.

    • I’m sorry, did you miss this part?
      “The subject became violently combative with the officer and the officer called for back up.”

    • That was my thought too. WHile I hate the number of teenagers I see jumping the gates regularly, pulling a gun does seem a bit much.

    • gun probably drawn for resisting arrest, maybe assaulting the officer.

    • You must have missed the part about the suspect being “violently combative,” as well as the description of the struggle on the train. Go back and re-read the information.

      • Must have missed the part about police officers making up stories after arrests.

        • Metro stations have some of the higher resolution cameras in D.C.. I hope a good motivation not to lie. The struggle in the train at least has witnesses.

        • The struggle on the floor was recounted by a citizen eyewitness, not the police. Just acknowledge that you didn’t read the OP and jumped to conclusions based on pre-existing beliefs about cops.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Well, whatever the reason for the gun coming out, note that it was another reader who wrote into PopVille who reported the struggle on the train, not the police.

        • Why should police be writing in to PoPville?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear, that wasn’t what I meant. Somebody above suggested that the police pulled their gun irresponsibly first and made up the story about the suspect fighting them after the fact. My point was other non-police sources independently confirmed that a physical struggle occurred.

    • F*ck that. What do you expect the officer to do? Guy jumps the turnstyle. Officer makes chase and the guy resists. Does the officer just let the guy go? Fight the guy until he can’t move? Pepper spray deployment seems like a reasonable way to end this. And I don’t want officers to stand down at the first sign of resistance or flight. This dipsh-t probably ran because he had a warrant out or something.

    • You clearly didn’t read the part where the guy became violent with the officer.

    • They did not brandish the gun until the group tried to push the officers off the platform. Which is attempted murder by the way in addition to resisting arrest. After they were approached by officers with guns holstered. You don’t know the situation. This group of perps was violent from the get go, the officer was right to pull the gun when they did because the group escalated with violence, and officer is right to pull a weapon when they are being attacked.

  • I was on a train that must have been right before this – saw the woman with her gun drawn at the guy on the platform. At that point the guy was just walking around and acting agitated – not sure if the threatening happened before that to make the officer draw her weapon. Our train left with them still on the platform; had no idea she was law enforcement so i did call 911. Everyone in our train basically hit the ground and was freaked out – glad to hear it got resolved safely. Guess i do feel silly about calling 911 on a cop though…

  • I was also in this train car. The arresting officer had no visible marking on her clothing identifying her as transit police, nor did she indicate this verbally. She looked quite young, and I mistook her for a peer of the young man she was attempting to subdue (who appeared to be high school-aged). This could have been very dangerous if there had happened to be a passenger with a gun, who might have shot at her thinking she was attacking the young man.

    • I’d agree and would guess this breaks some sort of protocol. If you draw your weapon, you’d do well to make sure those around you know you are law enforcement – at least verbally until a badge can be displayed. Surely this can’t be “best practice” if not literally against protocol.
      My guess is that this step was overlooked by what is described as a flustered officer who had just been attacked (or partner was attacked) – not that that makes it less of a mistake, but I’m assuming it was an error of omission as opposed to standard police procedure to draw guns without ID.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I wonder if they identified themselves as police to those who were on the platform at the time, i.e., prior to the flood of new bystanders who arrived in the middle of the situation when the train pulled up. It probably would have been better for the train to bypass the station without stopping, but I suspect that everything happened too quickly for the message to be relayed from the officers on the platform to the station manager and then to the train operator. I do not envy a police officer who is in the middle of trying to arrest a suspect who is actively resisting when all of a sudden several dozen oblivious citizens arrive on a train and the doors open.

    • A while back, a PoPville reader (I think maybe Brookland_Rez?) described seeing on a Metrobus what he thought was an assault… that turned out to be plainclothes Metro Transit Police cops tackling a fare evader.
      It sounds like Metro Transit Police needs to add some kind of policy about requiring plainclothes cops to identify themselves when they’re tackling someone, drawing a gun, etc. — to avoid alarming bystanders and to avoid the possibility that a bystander might try to intervene.

  • From the takoma list serve…

    “The two women involved were undercover police doing some sort of truancy/fare jumping patrol. The transit police do that most mornings.

    They were arresting the teens when one attacked the two officers, and almost threw each of them on the tracks. One officer drew her gun. No shots were fired. The three teenage boys were arrested. “

    • This is it. What the teen tried is called attempted murder and assaulting a police officer. They will be in prison for a very long time, and that is where they belong. Our violent criminals in this city should be behind bars, not on the streets. I am all for shorter sentences for non-violent offenders, but LONGER sentences for violent ones.

    • And now that we have the full story not only does this make a lot more sense, it also confirms the need to be vigilant about about even petty crimes like truancy and fare-jumping. Any kids that would physically attack a police officer while being arrested are not kids that I want walking the streets.

  • person was an dc student On His way to school And There was no fare evasion I was on my way to the station manager so he can give me the go ahead so I can be on my way to schoolThen suddenly some lady in plain clothes walked up and grabbed his pass out of his hand and Started to yell at him get down get down on the ground And he didn’t understand what was going on He never swung back on any of the officers the officers beat him with his own property And he started running around asking for help screaming for help he didn’t know what to do But yet they say the law is here to help and protect to serve and protect The community when There are offices on the forest who / Over abused their authority The African American boy name is Danzell hall A student of Coolidge high school he was on his way to school

  • In for everybody’s information I never swung or put my hands on the police officers I was never belligerent I was never disrespectful And not only that I wasn’t even trying to escape the fear invasion when I have $5 in my pocket I was on my way to the station manager because I know the station manager he left me through every morning because he knows I’m a young I am a young man trying to go to school and learn my education for all of you who really believe the police over what they saidThat’s crazy the person that supposed to be The suspect is the victim when you don’t even know the whole story if you guys looked around and found a videos of everything that happened that day you guys I feel real dumb All of you that really think that I would like a person with actually run from a fare evasion that’s childish that is for little little kids The reason I don’t even have to even fight police officer is because the simple fact they’re supposed to protect us And not only that Available abuse their authority because the simple fact I was just trying to go to school and I had to smart trips on me and I don’t need that ID card That wasn’t mine but I had put the money on there And if anyone wants to get in contact with me about this Then you know where to reach me you can reach me at [email protected] or at 4334591131

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