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“Attack on Metro at Rush Hour – guy had a broken jaw and his face was swollen beyond recognition”

by Prince Of Petworth December 22, 2015 at 9:45 am 174 Comments


Ed. Note: In July there was a stabbing homicide aboard a Red Line train by NoMa. An arrest was made.

A reader passes on from the Brookland Listserv:

Attack on Metro at Rush Hour

Just to let the neighborhood know, I saw a group of kids beat a guy on the metro on the way home from work today. I got on the train at Union Station and realized I should move away from a group of 10 or 12 kids who were being loud and rowdy. And sure enough they egged each other on to attack a guy who was just sitting there for no reason. They were punching his head until he tried to move and then they knocked him out. When he came to he stumbled over to us where I had alerted the driver that we needed the train to stop and the police. He couldn’t remember what had happened and was totally out of it and was bleeding everywhere. The driver held the train at metro and kept the doors closed for a bit but the kids were running through the cars and escaped when the doors opened. They tried to lock down the station but I think they got on a train going in the other direction.

The poor guy had a broken jaw and his face was swollen beyond recognition. His poor wife was there at NoMa and held him until the ambulance came. She said he had texted her not to get on the car because there was a rowdy group and he was going to move. What a way to come home from work. Stay away from rowdy groups of kids and know how to alert the driver should you ever need to.

Some advice for metro:

1- The driver should have let me tell him what the assailants looked like to pass on to the police before he opened the doors. It also was a little unnerving being stuck on the train with the assailants while the doors were closed, but that was worth it to corner them while the police got in place. The police didn’t even seem to know which car to come to!

2- Once everyone was unloaded they should have made trains going in the opposite direction skip the platform, because I am pretty sure that’s how the assailants escaped.

3- When a guy is bleeding from the mouth after getting pounded on it isn’t helpful for you to just say “I got you bro, I got you.” Is the ambulance coming? Where should we wait with him? Are the police coming? Give us some information!”

  • ChenChen

    awful. wish the guy a speedy recovery.

  • LittleBluePenguin

    I f#$King hate youths. All of them. and Metro is so incompetent it’s truly terrifying.

    • Yup

      Those pesky scalawags? Are they causing mischief again?

      They’re good boys, promise!

  • Ugh. Welcome to Thunderdome.

    • Leslie


  • grr36

    Were there others, grown adults maybe, on the train who could have stepped in and helped?

    • js

      Did you read the part where there were 10 – 12 assailants?

      • Leslie

        Still, it sounds like they could have easily killed the guy by accident. That’s not an easy situation, but I wouldn’t want to see someone die in front of me because I was afraid.

        That said, it’s very Lord of the Flies. I could even understand (from a psychological perspective) a mob mentality as something escalates, but it sounds like the guy who was attacked was just sitting there.

        • grr36


        • dcd

          By accident? You can’t be serious. If they had killed him, it wouldn’t have been an accident. Give me a break.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Obviously this would not have been an accident in the eyes of the law, but it is also quite plausible that the kids might have specifically desired to injure but not kill the guy and end up killing him anyway, which is what most people other than the prosecutor would mean when they say “killed him by accident.”

      • anon

        10-12 cowards. If two or three people had intervened, they would have stopped and ran at the next stop. Kids only do this shit when they think they can get away with it. As soon as they are confronted with a forceful response, they stop and flee. I’ve seen it happen several times in my neighborhood, and have confronted kids who were doing stupid shit and they ran.

        • sproc

          Different environment. On a sealed Metro car, there’s no flee option, only fight. They’ve already committed to violence–are you ready to defend yourself if you try to intervene?

          • textdoc

            +1. Ten to twelve assailants means that even if three people intervened, it’d still be 3-4 assailants per person.
            It’s easy for keyboard-hero types to say what they supposedly would’ve done in this situation.

        • Anon

          When presented with a fight or flight situation, one’s behavior will be largely prescribed when one of those isn’t an option.

          • anon

            there are actually three options: fight, flight, or freeze. freeze is by far the most common.

          • Anonamom

            People always forget about the freeze thing. How many people start off stories of stressful/surprising situations with “I just froze.” But then we all Monday Morning Quarterback and say “why didn’t they step in and kick some ass!” instead of recognizing that not everyone (in fact most everyone) see stressful events occurring and the physiological response to the stress they are seeing roots them in place unable to really do much, whether it be for a few seconds or several moments.

        • aed228


    • Anon

      Agreed. What a disgrace.

    • Anon

      Ben Carson woulda stepped in.

      • Leslie

        He would have told them the guy they wanted was over there.

      • Bitter Elitist

        And stabbed someone for criticizing his opera or buying him the wrong pants? He’s too busy stopping a bucket of Sabra anyway.

    • If it was a crowded train, adults could have banded together to stop it. However, I know I always assume someone has a gun. Even a “good guy with a gun” can escalate the situation very quickly especially in a closed environment like a metro car. There is nothing these kids won’t do, so keeping yourself safe and able to communicate to the police, should they actually care, is also important.

      • anon

        THANK YOU. I was wondering how many comments down I’d get before people started blaming the bystanders.

  • sproc

    I’m generally an anti-Chicken Little, but this legitimately scares me. With all the concern and focus on violence (terrorist and otherwise) in public spaces and mass transit, the fact that Metro Police and assisting agencies couldn’t execute an effective containment response to a violent incident on a train is troubling. What if these were much more organized bad actors with weapons more dangerous than fists?

    • AG

      Especially since these kinds of incidents aren’t exactly rare. Maybe to this extent, but groups of kids causing trouble and dispersing or even just a few thieves robbing someone and escaping through a busy station are things that metro surely deals with every once in a while.

    • kittycatbob

      +1000 Indeed, very concerning.

    • Every time there is an incident that needs rapid response, whether crime or weather, the District fails. The radios didn’t work; the person reporting didn’t give the right information; the rule is that the train should stay in the smoky tunnel; and on and on and on. We are truly screwed when something catastrophic happens in this city.

      • The OP Anon

        This is the big takeaway from this awful incident. Metro is a total mess and can’t react quickly in an emergency situation. I’m sure the driver had no information to give the distressed passenger, as the central command is useless. Metro is definitely the softest target in DC.

        • Anon Spock

          +1,000 I can’t imagine other systems have all these issues. Mismanagement at every level. One of the wealthiest parts of the country; why is the metro so poorly run?

          • The OP Anon

            A few reasons:
            -Impossible to negotiate long-term funding between the 3 localities that control WMATA (one of which is rabidly anti-tax and anti-public transport)
            -WMATA essentially being a public jobs program for decades as a means of political patronage without recourse to fire non-performing employees
            -Power of the union to extract unending wage increases, huge pension obligations, and benefits
            -Union imposed staffing shortages to increase overtime opportunities
            In sum, WMATA is rudderless because no single authority has a strong grasp of control over the bureaucracy. WMATA needs a dictator with real powers.

        • Anon

          Check out the recent story in the Washingtonian that chronicles some of the glaring faults at WMATA.

    • Bitter Elitist

      I feel the same way about this and the fire. It’s not terrorism that scares me, it’s Metro’s complete and utter failure to manage/mitigate/eliminate known risks and threats.

  • anon

    Twitter says three of the kids were apprehended/arrested.

    • Leslie

      Thank goodness.

      • anon7

        Ha! In DC this behavior is just considered boys being boys. These kids will be back home by Christmas.

        • Yep

          this. The kids are probably home already. Their moms are crying some fake tears about what “good boys” they are etc. No repercussions. they will finally do some hard time when they kill someone once they turn 18, so I guess thats something. When I see a group of teenagers on metro I also change cars the first chance I get. Don’t care if thats racial profiling. Based on crime stats.

          • Z

            Same here. No hesitation whatsoever…off the train, and not one second worrying about what’s PC or not.

        • kittycatbob

          I was on a deadlocked jury this past summer and one of my fellow jurors basically used this as part of his argument for letting the defendant off.

    • Possibly related, I got a crime alert text over the weekend that on 7th st there was a robbery and to “look out” for up to 20 youths. Disgusting.

      • sorry, not sure why this is up here but it’s not in response….though I’m glad they’ve possibly got a few (even though they’ll be out soon….)

  • nightborn

    Terrible. Poor man!

    I have been getting these crime alerts over the past few days about robberies and assaults being committed by “groups of juveniles” – one alert referred to a group of 20 (!!!) At this point if I see a group of kids anywhere near me, I’m going to go the other way even if they are being absolutely angelic. Better safe than sorry.

    • AG

      I’ve always avoided groups of kids, at last since I first moved to DC fresh out of college eight years ago, to Southwest, and our apartment building put notices up that people were getting rocks thrown at them by a group of kids sitting in front of the library. Kids are dumb and irrational and it’s only compounded when they’re around other kids.

      • Anon

        doesn’t help that there will very likely be minimal – if any – consequences.

      • Ed

        Kids maybe irrational but most don’t throw rocks at passing strangers. You’re avoiding the real problem when you make this out to be about “kids”.

    • YES! This! I get them too (I don’t know how to stop getting them even though I’ve moved). Lord of the Flies is a great analogy.

  • AMac

    This is so upsetting. I hope this man is okay. As a daily rider of the Red Line, I can’t help but feel unsafe. What can we do other than complain and try to keep our wits about us?

  • Absolutely awful – I hope he recovers physically and emotionally quickly. But fear not, DC, the animals responsible probably have done this before and will do it again.

    • Patrick Division

      FEDERAL. TAKEOVER. NOW. Dismiss the mayor and the CC. The only thing they care about is how much developer $$$ is coming their way. Citizen safety and livability of the city aren’t anywhere on their collective radar.

      • BMouse

        And all Congress will care about is playing politics with our government to suit their home constituency. This corruption started because of lack of control and good government. And part of the problem with failing public transit systems is the significant cuts in federal funding for capital projects that make the lowest bidder a truly sad prospect.

  • AG

    You have to be a special kind of evil to do this to another person. This isn’t kids being kids or some youthful indiscretions. These are monsters – completely inhuman.

    • Anon

      bet they think its funny.

      • DS

        And guess what happens when these kids have their own kids in a couple years…

        • Dupont Resident

          In a couple of years? I bet at least some of these adults (I’m sorry, when you beat someone to near death you are no longer a kid in my mind) already have a kid.

        • anon12

          This is exactly why we recently moved. Couldn’t afford private and wont allow my child’s innocence to be lost to classmates like this.

    • spookiness

      I avoid places where kids hang out and will car-hop on the rare occasions I take Metro if there are groups in them. I hate to be that guy, but these are the real terrorists in this city.

      • Kingman Park

        You’re not “that guy”. Tired of people defending criminals like they are left no choice but to be pieces of shit.

  • Duponter

    Also, speaking of riding for free, assuming these were students, chances are they got on the train together and WMATA should really be able to track down their identifies based on them tapping into the systems and boarding that train. It really should not be difficult to retrace their steps here using security camera footage and the information from their SmarTrip cards. I doubt they all got on using cash.

    • HIll Easter

      LOL – I’m sure these fine young gentlemen did not use a smart trip to enter the station.

      • Duponter

        I don’t know. I mean you are right, it is possible considering the laziness of most station managers. But that many of them jumping a gate together seems like it would draw a lot of attention. And many stations now have police at them leading into Christmas. They might just be stupid enough to have tapped in with their cards since, if they are students, it’s free anyway.

    • Nathan

      You’re right, they probably didn’t get on using cash. They probably got on by going skipping the fare machines and going through the manual gate…..while the station manager just watched them walk by.

      • Megan

        Actually, they probably used a one card which none of you who seem to know about all the “terrible youth” in DC even seem to know about, which just goes to show how out of rich the PoP comments always are.

        • Megan

          Out of touch**

          • JoDa

            Not out of touch, I’m with Nathan. I watch dozens of kids walk right through the manual gates each and every day, at various stations. After a particularly rowdy ride and watching a large group of them do the same one night (they were openly drinking beer and smoking in the train, and then went right out the manual gate with the station manager standing not 5′ away, beers and cigs still in hand…not a one of them could have been a day over 16), I asked the station manager why he didn’t do anything. He said: “I’m not interested in spending the weekend in the hospital.” I can’t say that he was wrong…

  • Nathan

    this is exactly why i avoid certain metro stations as well. the kids get so out of control sometimes. it’s fucking scary

  • Red Line rider

    Awful. I am so sorry this happened. And thank god it wasn’t worse. It’s inexcusable that the police and Metro didn’t coordinate better to catch these kids.

    What time did this happen? It’s particularly horrifying to think about these kids getting their violent shits and giggles on a crowded train. They knew they could get away with it, IOW.

    Next time please also call 911. A police officer from the NoMa beat told me to text 50411 if you don’t feel comfortable talking. I can’t speak to how well that works.

    • JoDa

      I’m on the Brookland listserv. This message was posted at around 7 PM. Assuming that the poster was held up a little in their commute for the police response, and posted this when they got home, it would have happened right at the heart of rush hour. Probably 5:45-6:30 PM. Truly terrifying, since the train must have been pretty full at that point. There *should* be safety in numbers, but this was SUPER bold.

  • Anon Spock

    If I read this correctly, no one helped when they started punching. He was knocked unconscious and no one aided him either until he came to and stumbled over to them. This is why I don’t take metro because if the situation presented itself I know I’d be the only one willing to help which I’d do in a heartbeat. A red line train during rush hour at least has 12 people on it.
    If you really think they have a gun, staying seated is no safety measure since they can easily shoot you over there. Getting in close at least gives you a chance to disarm.
    And please spare me the “you wouldn’t know what you’d do in this situation”. I would be knocked out right with him.
    The apathy in this city sickens me.

    • PK

      “I would be knocked out right with him.”

      Good plan.

    • textdoc

      “I would be knocked out right with him.” And how would that help either of you?

      • Well

        Well, for one you might save their life. I don’t mean to blame the bystanders, put people did sit and watch someone get brutally killed on the fourth of july. Obviously it’s a lot easier to overpower one person than 10, though.

        • JS

          “I don’t mean to blame the bystanders, but watch me go ahead and do it anyways…”

      • Anon Spock

        Well, getting knocked out is not my plan OBVIOUSLY! My plan is to provide assistance and if things go that way I’m willing to share the damage. That’s what that line meant. I can’t sit idlely by and watch someone get beat to a pulp or killed. But I know we’re not all cut from the same cloth.

        • One does not know how one will behave in a battle until they are actually in a battle.

          • Anon Spock

            Yea, I’ve stopped 1 rape and a handful of attacks here and in Baltimore. I know what I would do, but thank you for that reminder anyway.

          • My apologies, you are a hero. Carry on.

          • Anon

            You’re a badass. Most people riding metro aren’t.

          • Anon Spock

            I’m a regular woman who knows a little more than you might about self defense (but I’ve stepped up before I took any classes). It does not take John Wayne to save the day.
            Self defense classes ate great for learning how to defuse situations and getting confidence. That’s more valuable to me than learning some slick technique.

          • KCK

            There are wolves, sheep and sheepdogs

        • dcd

          “But I know we’re not all cut from the same cloth.”
          Don’t hurt your arm (speculatively) patting yourself on the back there.

          • wdc

            Seriously. I don’t think anyone likes to consider that their reaction to this situation would be to cower in fear. I think most of us like to think we’d step up somehow. But most of us are smart enough to have learned from countless others’ stories who WERE in these situations, and didn’t react at all the way they thought/hoped they would.

        • Paycheck

          I guess I’ve been taking the wrong self defense classes. I know some tricks for getting away from a single person that’s attacking me, but not a whole group of people. That’s some ninja shit.

    • gotryit

      I’d probably freeze too, but I hope I’d help out. I’ve got a wife and kids that I need to go home to, but what if I end up the guy on the receiving end another day? I hope other people would help me out. Do unto others… or something like that.

    • wdc

      “And please spare me the “you wouldn’t know what you’d do in this situation”.”
      Are you kidding me with this? Is this some strange online forum performance art?

      • Anon Spock

        Yes, this what someone says every time it’s suggested that people should step up. I’ve run outside after hearing help I’m being attacked, so yes, unlike most people, I do know what my reaction would be in this sort of situation.
        No, I’m not jumping in the middle of every spat on the street, but I will not stand by and watch someone be abused just because some kids need a thrill.
        My issue is not with 1 individual but the group as a whole. I only hope if I have to provide assistance the mob mentality will kick in such that others will step up too.

        • textdoc

          “I’ve run outside after hearing help I’m being attacked, so yes, unlike most people, I do know what my reaction would be in this sort of situation.” That’s not really comparable to being on a Metro car and seeing a sudden violent situation unfold.

          • Anon Spock

            The man had time to text his wife and OP states they had time and inclination to move away from the group. An egging on process began then the attack happened. The group then first hit him in the head before knocking him out as he finally tried to move. The attack was foreseeable and perhaps preventable.
            There are several places where an intervention could have happened.
            Textdoc- you’re obviously going to try and parry everything I say because you’re uncomfortable with my ideas. I can accept that, and I’ll still help any one of you if the situation should arise in my presence. With that said, I’m agreeing to disagree and move on.

          • dcd

            Ah, yes, Anon Spock: Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need. Willing and able to accost 10+ assailants without regard for her personal safety. Our very own protector. A legend in her own mind.

        • The OP Anon

          Same thing happened to me in Clarendon a few years ago when I was there for St. Patty’s Day. A drunk woman was being sexually assaulted right at the edge of a dark alley and zero people were stopping it. She was even screaming “STOP. Someone please help me!,” hysterically sobbing, and people were just sort of peering hesitantly at the scene or pretending to not even notice the situation as they walked by. Myself and my ex-GF physically tossed the guy off her, he tried to take a swing at me, and then he ran off. It was crazy to see people just stop, stare, and let a rape happen right in front of them. I mean, the guy had his hand down her pants and was trying to rip her clothes off; how could someone not intervene?
          The Metro situation obviously different. But I would hope that someone would come to my aid instead of just watching it happen. I would hope a few guys and women could confront the perps. This is why I carry mace with me. Then again, I’m always scanning groups of kids and can immediately tell when they are egging each other and signaling to each other. Do not ignore the signs, especially on Metro.

  • S

    time to buy some mace/ a taser

  • Pixie

    How awful for this man and his family. I was on a red line train that got stuck behind this one as it was holding at NoMa. Never thought it could be because some poor guy got beat up by a bunch of kids in the middle of rush hour.

  • Anonymouse

    Thanks to our juvenile justice laws, even if these kids are caught, they will face nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Until our legislators or their families are the victims of one of these brutal attacks by juveniles, nothing will change. Heck, if things were left up to someone like David Grosso, these kids wouldn’t face even a slap on the wrist b/c clearly it’s the city’s fault that a mob of teenagers beat someone and not the teenagers themselves.

  • Duponter

    Also, for those condemning the passengers who did nothing, remember, at NOMA someone died a few months ago from being stabbed by ONE assailant. I’m not sure I’d be quick to jump in the fray with 10-12 of them.

    And I totally agree with the comments that the inability to even have a process for securing the train to arrest them by Metro gives me very little faith in anyone’s ability to stop an actual terrorist from inflicting massive damage on the system. What a disaster.

  • george

    Does this kind of stuff happen in other major US cities like nyc, sf, chicago, etc?

    • skj84

      Yes. Is this a real question? Not condoning the violence in this city, but you must live under a rock if you think this shit doesn’t happen in other major metropolitan cities.

      • madmonk28

        NYC is one of the safer cities in America. I’m willing to bet that the rates of violent crime per rider is higher in DC than there. My boss is out of town and I’m off to do some internet research.

        • skj84

          Not saying NYC is unsafe. But there is violence. There are still shootings, and muggings, and and assault. It’s not some sort of mecca for safety. Thats my point. These things do happen outside our city.

          • SinSA

            They do happen, yes. I lived in NYC for 6 years before I moved here, and I will tell you that despite the incidences of crime/mugging/assaults that happen as a result of living in a major city, I feel like didn’t happen with as much frequency in NYC as it seems to happen here. Maybe it’s reported more here? I can tell you that when I lived there, oftentimes I’d be on the subway late at night and only very rarely did I feel uncomfortable (I mean I have super gross and awful stories about subway rides, too). But I quickly learned here, that the metro is not as safe (I’ve been here over 8 years now) and I feel less safe here. I feel like that guy didn’t stand a chance being attacked by a mob of teenagers. It’s scary.

          • The OP Anon

            Honestly? NY’ers won’t let this happen to another strap-hanger. People WILL intervene in NYC, if a group of young kids was attacking a harmless middle age guy on his evening commute. I’ve seen it happen. There’s a lot more social cohesion in NYC than there is in DC. People may not know their neighbors in NYC, but post-9/11 you’ll see 5 NY’ers rush to someone in need.

      • HaileUnlikely

        You have a point, but I think that was unduly harsh. I’m assuming that george does not live under a rock, but also does not live in NYC, SF, or Chicago, and probably does not ride transit often in NYC, SF, or Chicago, or read local blogs from NYC, SF, or Chicago. Note that the incident that is the subject of this thread has not been reported by any major media outlets. Unless george has a friend who has himself been attacked or witnessed an attack on another city’s transit system, or obsessively monitors neighborhood blogs from other cities, or watches Worldstar a lot, I’m not sure how you figure george is supposed to learn of attacks like these in other cities. How do you learn of attacks like these in other cities?

        • george

          thanks for coming to my defense. yes it is a real question and i dont follow other cities’ blogs.

        • skj84

          Not trying to be harsh. I just feel it common knowledge that violent crime happens in major metropolitan cities. I mean, Chicago alone has been in the news for it’s gun violence epidemic. People really should follow the news outside thier own city.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This wasn’t a question about crime generally, it was a question regarding whether something quite specific – a large group of juveniles attacking a random person without provocation on transit at rush hour – happens elsewhere. This incident that we’re talking about here not been reported by any news media. A resident of NYC or Chicago or SF who follows DC local news religiously likely won’t find out about it unless they read PopVille or the Brookland listserv, and why in the world would they do that? Given that I don’t see how residents of other major cities would learn of incidents involving large groups of juveniles attacking random people without provocation on mass transit at rush hour in DC, I think it is unreasonable to expect residents of DC to possess knowledge of these incidents elsewhere.

          • JoDa

            Violent crimes happen in other major cities, obviously. However, I do feel like there is a little more social cohesion/watch out for others/standards of behavior in other major cities versus DC. It even comes down to little things. I travel often with my mom, and while she’s not frail, she is getting up there and looks it. She’s much more likely to be offered a seat or other basic assistance/courtesy in other major cities in the US than in DC.
            Heck, a couple years ago in Chicago, the El was crowded as we boarded, and we ended up getting separated in the crush. She ended up near the end of the car, and I ended up in the middle. Not only did this rough-looking young man give her his seat, but he worked to get me back to her, seated next to her. It wasn’t necessary (she’s worldly enough to handle herself on public transit, we both knew our stop, and she told him that she was fine and we’d just catch back up on the platform at our stop), but it was NICE. I can’t imagine most people doing that in DC, where, on the regular, I have people cut me off, practically (or sometimes actually) shoving, in pursuit of a seat, even when the train *isn’t* all that crowded.
            Another heck, a couple months ago, I got a flat “no” from a guy who was easily over 6′, when I asked him if we could swap places because I couldn’t reach a bar from where I was standing (he was arm’s reach from a vertical pole and I was slightly askew from an overhead one…just far enough away that I was about 3″ from being able to reach it…I’m 5’3). I literally wanted to do-si-do so that we were opposite our original positions, and he just said “no, I’m comfortable where I am” and left me to try to balance with nothing to hold on to. He could have both reached the vertical pole over my head and the overhead bar easily…

      • madmonk28

        Sorry, looks like DC crime rates are quite a bit worse than NYC. http://www.bestplaces.net/crime/?city1=51150000&city2=53651000

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          Unless things have changed in NYC it is one of the safest large cities in the US. Much safer than DC for sure.

          • SinSA

            I agree 100%. Much safer.

          • Duponter

            This is because Manhattan is a few years ahead of DC on gentrification. Same with SF. In 10 or 15 years, DC will have similar rates. Also, DC has much lower crime rates than it did 10 or 15 years ago. I think we’re in this weird bubble where you have a lot more “victim” living in DC, but still have a lot more of the “assailants” still living in DC too. It’s like to lines intersecting on a graph. As the population of newcomers increase in DC and poorer communities with kids are pushed into the burbs, the crime rates will go down.

          • Philippe Lecheval

            And DC will never adopt the zero tolerance policies that helped NYC reduce its violent crime rates. We’ve already seen strong opposition to that here.

          • una pregunta

            Is it legal to carry pepper spray in DC / on Metro?

          • Newtonian

            @unapregunta Is it legal to beat the sh*t out of someone in DC / on Metro?

          • Newtonian

            Oh wait, it practically is!

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      I was googling trying to find more information on this story and this came up: http://ktla.com/2015/12/14/3-teens-arrested-after-brutal-beating-on-metro-train-near-long-beach-is-caught-on-camera/

      :( So yes, I guess this is how some teens enjoy spending their free time. Really sad and pathetic.

    • queenedix

      I moved back to CA from DC 3 years ago, first LA and now SF. I ride the muni every day and walk through the city at literally all hours. While there are occasional muggings, this kind of thing definitely does NOT happen often here, or in Oakland/East Bay.

      Also, things like this are way more widely reported by local news. There were 3 teenage drifters who killed someone and are now awaiting trial, and it is in both local blogs and mainstream news.

      I love DC but the reports I read on POPville and other sites really scare me. I lived in Columbia Heights for 8 years and saw reports of muggings or teenage flashmobs/shootings by the metro increase over the years, but the frequency with which this sort of attack happens is chilling and absolutely NOT normal.

    • tke

      Yes it happens in other cities. Native New Yorker who started taking public transportation to school in another borough for junior high school. But this incident can’t be compared to NYC because the transit system is so massive that a person can ride from point A to point B without ever having to ride with a massive amount of rowdy kids.

      I also second someone’s comment above saying that New Yorkers are more likely to jump in and say or do something. My sister and I have chased after kids thieving kids, while screaming loudly for security, in the DC area (it was at Pentagon mall). And others who witnessed the event said and did nothing.

      To the person saying NYC is one of the safer cities in America. Are you talking about NYC aka Manhattan? I know that crime has dropped a lot city-wide since my childhood, but if all of you people, who aren’t from NYC and visit on occasion or , never lived in NYC other than the old money, nouveau riche, trendy or ultra gentrified areas really believe that it’s this post-violent lala land, then I have a purple flying pig that I can sell you.

  • Berg

    When I get on the redline after work, I am met with this scene 50% of the time: groups of middle school-aged kids lounging in the cars taking up multiple seats for themselves, fast food bags/containers and candy wrappers thrown all over the floor, loud music coming from their devices, and a ton of screaming and cursing. Three times now have I witnessed an assault- this last time being three months ago when a woman was robbed and assaulted after exchanging words with a few of these kids. Friends/schoolmates held the metro doors open at Chinatown so that the assailants could weave in and out of the cars/crowds. I find it unnerving that this problem is ongoing- that children can dominate train cars and continue to act in such an abusive way, without repercussion.

    • Brannon

      Sentencing is a real problem. An mpd police officer told my husband off the record that tougher sentencing is deperately needed. He said he arrested a guy for robbery one day and the guy was released before the end of the officer’s shift. Another guy who regularly deals drugs on our street has been arrested 6 times (once for armed robbery). The officers know him well. Yet he’s still out there. Where is the political will to do something about this?

      • anon

        and this is IF they even get to sentencing. many of these crimes are never even prosecuted.

      • Ed

        Not trying to make this too political but the trends are for less sentencing not more thanks to shifts underway among the Democrats.

  • RedLiner

    I saw 2 kids arrested sitting on the platform around 6pm at Noma from this so they didn’t all get away at least. You can’t blame people for not stepping in when there is a mob of 10-12 people. They may have been under 18, but they were at least 16, not 5 year olds. Between the kid stabbed to death and all the random shootings, I wouldn’t be running to confront them.

  • madmonk28

    This is what DC felt like in the 80s and 90s. We’re not there yet with the level of crime, but we already have the apathy and incompetence of the city government in place that allows this to kep getting worse. When the Feds finally took over last time, I was relieved.

  • Angela

    All the criticism and well wishing doesn’t help. How about we stop “attacking” each other and think of ways to try to avoid these attacks.

    Carry pepper spray, be vigilant, find a good location to sit or stand where you have a good view of what’s going on or who is getting on, then get off or move to another train. If you find yourself watching someone getting attacked, sound the alarm first then if you want to help, make sure to see if anyone is willing to help you.

  • Are there fire extinguishers in each metro car? There has been a lot of press lately on training people to react to active shooters with distraction and swarming the assailant. Of course, very different situation in a car full of strangers with no training and perhaps not even full awareness of what’s going on, but one technique is to use a fire extinguisher on the assailants, shoot them in the face for distraction, then swarm. But of course, “swarming” an assailant with all the seats in the way is also pretty difficult.

    Clearly Metro is incapable of and un-interested in, protecting us. Station managers should always be on the lookout for groups of teens, monitor them in the station, radio an alert to the train driver. Profiling? Yes, absolutely. And absolutely appropriate.

  • Aglets

    There’s been a pack of kids running through my neighborhood not far from union station mostly knocking down women and stealing their purses and phones. I wonder if it’s the same pack.

  • Rower32

    It’s always a “group of kids”. Tougher punishment is needed. About time.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine if you are a student in DC and you have to go to school with these kids. I am sure that creates a great safe learning environment. When I was young groups would get on the bus / subway, you would get that vibe and know it was going to happen and you just hoped it was not you. I hope he recovers. I know how terrible it feels to be that helpless. I’ve been there with my eyes searching the crowd for help that did not come. This is nothing new kids may be a little more vicious now and it is more likely to see girl participate compared to the 90’s.

    • Rider

      I think about this often since I have kids in DCPS that are in first and third grade. Wondering when serious differences in civility will cause me to re-think staying in DC for public school.

      The flip side – on my metro bus ride today a mother was talking loudly on her cell phone to her mother about her daughter and how even though the kid is pregnant it is ok to beat her in the face. (apparently in an attempt to get her off the streets/selling drugs!). The mom also yelled loudly at another passenger who didn’t like to listen to the loud conversation saying “this is public transportation b&^%ch! Nearby kids having to listen to her cussing too.

      • dcd

        I thought about this a lot, and now my daughter is a third grader in MCPS. At the middle school campus of her (former) charter school, several years ago there was a kid who lit a girl’s hair on fire. I believe he was allowed back, too. Unreal.

      • Anonamom

        I went to a Middle School Fair for the eldest, and several of the schools “deal” with the issue of safety be segregating 6th graders from 7th and 8th graders, one even told me how the 6th graders have a separate entrance, are on an entirely different floor, and never come into contact with the upper grades. It’s sad, very sad.

    • Ed

      Liberals say school discipline is racist so there is now less discipline at many schools.

  • madmonk28

    Anyone know what Bernie Goetz is up to? Maybe a kickstarter campaign to get him to move to DC?

    • John


  • navyard

    We need to call it what it is: Wilding.
    We need to look upon it with horror.
    We need to make these youths feel shame in these acts
    We need to make the families feel ashamed of their children so they will try to teach them right from wrong
    We need to stop making excuses for kids who act like this
    We need to stop glorifying crime, drugs, irresponsible sex, and early pregnancy.
    There was a time when youths aspired to be rich and successful. Now they aspire to be street thugs.

    • Mamasan

      A few months ago I was walking down 7th Street NW in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, when a group of boys, none older than 11 or 12, jumped out of the elevator for the Metro station. They were very loud and startled me. When they saw my reaction, they started yelling that they were going to rape me, and “f&ck your [insert cat-related euphemism for female genitalia here]. I have a mouth like a sailor but was horrified.

      Even more so when I realized they were with their mothers, who heard it all and said nothing.

      Point being – there’s no shame for some. In 3 years, those kids will be the ones on the metro beating people for sport.

      • Anon

        That’s terrible. I’m sorry you experienced that. I once had a kid, must have been 8 years old, curse at/flex on me crossing the street in Columbia Heights. It was bizarre… Like he’d seen an older brother do this one time and figured that’s how you act.

        • Mamasan

          I get the posturing; all teenage boys do that and it’s usually harmless. But the threats of violence without being checked? Nope.

          And thank goodness for us that all we experienced were words. The concern is what that escalates into, as our fellow DC resident found out on the Red Line. Just horrifying and unacceptable. Perhaps it’s time to beef up Metro’s police department and have undercovers on the trains. That’s what New York did and it was fairly effective.

          • jd

            Mamasan – All teenage boys do NOT do that and it is NOT harmless. There is a sickness in this city.

      • DC_on_my_bike

        The other day I saw an older walking with 3 young kids, looked to be all under 5 years old. As I passed, the lady yelled at one of the kids, “Shut the fuck up, you faggot”. I was so shocked and disgusted that she would speak to a CHILD with such hatefulness. It’s like she is trying to raise a degenerate

        • anoone

          Yes, I have seen similar many times in DC, have seen public child abuse and have seen mothers cursing out their toddlers. I believe that this is how the violence starts. The innocent kids are abused and their fear and confusion eventually turns to rage and violence to protect themselves. It is the saddest thing in the world.

        • Anonamom

          Children learn about the world first and foremost from their immediate caregivers, whether this be parents, grandparents, or anyone else in that “inner circle.” They learn how to deal with other people, how to view the world, how to interact, how to love, all from a very, very young age. If what you are growing up with is someone who can’t handle the smallest slight (getting cut off in traffic, being “disrespected” etc) and responds with rage/hateful speech, that’s what they learn. It’s sad.
          One quick story – When my son was in second grade, I got a phone call from the school; Son had been giving a group presentation with other kids at his table when one of the kids punched him in the stomach so hard that he doubled over and was winded. Apparently this occurred over the perceived slight that the other table mates had chosen Son over the other kid to be the “reporter” for their presentation. As the school year moved on and we learned more and more about the child’s homelife through observation of his mom at drop-offs and pick-ups, it became pretty clear where the child got the idea that punching someone who pissed you off or that you were jealous of is perfectly ok and acceptable. Instead of encouraging Son to avoid the child, I encouraged him to see that sometimes kids have really shitty home lives and that this can make them act out. I reminded him that it is often times the people who are hardest to love who need the most love. I will never forget the day my son asked me if the child could come home with us because he deserved a family who loved him too (after he saw the mom do something most people would consider inappropriate). I happen to know that in this case, the school is doing everything they can. But it is so hard. It is an uphill battle when you are trying to tear down years of abusive behavior, the damage from which isn’t even clear until the children are older. Will this boy turn out ok? Honestly, I don’t know. I sincerely hope so, but I really don’t know. But at the end of the day, he is still a child and there is, absolutely, still hope for him. What we can’t do is give up on him, or other children like him. It would have been *so easy* for me to label the kid a little thug and tell my precious little snow flake to stay away from him. But what does that teach my son? What does it teach the other boy?

          • The OP Anon

            Very poignant. Than you for sharing. Your son is getting a well-rounded education in life skills that many of his peers would not receive in less challenging environs.

  • asdf

    The root cause here is a cultural one. These types of crimes in DC are almost exclusively committed by black teens – I don’t know how far back you have to go on DCPD twitter to find a violent crime where the lookout isn’t for “B/M”. Sure, better sentencing and enforcement would help, but the culture of acceptance and encouragement of this type of behavior needs to change for these heinous acts to stop.

    • erik


    • tke

      What culture specifically are you referring to – – a violence culture? Surely you don’t mean to say that black people, culturally are criminals or that black people accept and encourage this type of behavior. Because that’s the way your statement kind of reads. I am pretty positive in cities that are predominantly white, especially in areas of low poverty, the youths getting in trouble and who are all on the police department violent crime reports are all white. Would you say the problem then is a white cultural problem with the participants accepting and encouraging this behavior?

      Does socio-economic status come into play in your understanding of the root of this problem?

      I acknowledge that there is a problem with what happened in this situation, but since I as a youth in NYC, for a period of time, was one in that large group of loudly talking, cussing black youth (we were not violent and most of us bothered no one, but between the siblings (elementary to high school aged) traveling together across town to get to school, the numbers could get pretty high and it could appear “gang-like” to others especially since we all dressed alike in our school uniforms.

      I say all this because I did that for a bit and still turned out pretty well, so I won’t necessarily assume a large group of black youth are 1) a gang, 2) violent, or 3) a danger to me. I also won’t assume that when I see youths acting out they do it because culturally this form of behavior is accepted and encouraged. This allows me to continue in my quest to be an open minded individual and not allow stereotypes overly impact how I interact wit or view other people.

      In general, I try to stay aware of my surroundings and if I sense something “not right” from anyone, regardless of race, or sex, or whether it’s one person or a group, then I try to avoid that situation, all the while making sure I can easily access my weapon and my phone and do this while staying in sight of others.

      I, however, agree with you that when there are acts of violent such as these, the aggressor’s punishment (sentencing and enforcement) should commensurate with the crime, regardless of that person’s age.

      • alkebulan

        Extremely well said.

      • dcd

        Though I’m reluctant to wade into this mine field, a couple of points are worth making. First, asdf is right – when you look at the MPD twitter feed and other crime alerts, the vast majority of those are a lookout for a B/M (and even more so if it’s a violent crime). Not all of them, but most of them, and it’s been that way for quite some time. I don’t think it’s out of line to call it a cultural problem. But here’s the rub – in DC, race is highly correlated with SES. Because of that significant correlation, it’s impossible to say whether it’s a black cultural problem or an SES cultural problem. My guess is that it’s got much more to do with SES than race – kids and young adults from middle to high SES households, whatever their color) don’t typically engage in repeated instances of street crime. (Cue the people yelling at me that “not all poor people are criminals” – of course, that’s not what I said, but don’t let facts get in the way of some righteous indignation.) But it’s a little naïve to deny that we have a systemic, cultural problem here that isn’t amenable to quick fixes or easy solutions.

        • tke

          No argument from me about your points. I realize that asdf is posting on a DC blog, so maybe asdf meant to say limit his/her “cultural problem” label to DC only, but that’s no the way it read. And the second line said “black people” so I understood it to mean that black people culturally are encourage/promote violence. Being that I’m a black person who was born in the lower middle end of the socio-economical stratosphere with two non-college educated parents who only encouraged me to do well in school and not hang out in the streets and rewarded my sister and I for academic excellence, I don’t understand the “culture” label. And I have black friends (Black Americans, Caribbean Americans and African Americans) who are from the DC areas who were raised the same way. That’s why “culture” and “black people” that equate to a violent or criminal label is one that I refuse to accept because while it is true in some instances, it remains true for every group of people and I do not label them as being culturally inclined to those traits.

      • At what percentage of crimes reported are you ok with not labeling it stereotyping? Because it’s got to be somewhere around 95-99% at this point. Only 100% is acceptable?

      • anon

        Yes, in places where the majority is white and there are youths getting in trouble there is a cultural problem. Where I grew up these roving gangs were known as rednecks. And here’s a neat trick – I can differentiate between recognizing that all those rednecks were white but that not all whites were rednecks, just like I can differentiate between the fact that the gangs committing these attacks in DC are made up mostly of black male teens, but not all black male teens are criminals. And because of that, you bet your ass I’m going to avoid large groups of black male teens in DC because I’m not stupid and will not sacrifice my safety for some misguided attempt to be an “open-minded individual.” For the record, when back home I also avoid large groups of young white males for the same reason, to avoid getting my butt kicked.

        • tke

          I hope that you are not calling me stupid anon for being open-minded. You can do what you want that you feel it is best for your safety and if you think in EVERY situation that a large group of black male teens (in my scenario, I said black youth) should be avoided, then that is fine. But I would prefer if you not begrudge me for doing otherwise.

          I work downtown. I jog and walk around the city. Black youth groups do visit and are tourists. (I as a child was in one of those groups) The ones that live here come from a diverse socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. These youths attend both public and private schools and sometimes leave those places in “large groups” which I will define as five or more. At times they go on field trips or events and travel together around the city. Sometimes these groups of black youth could all be one extended family. I know because I’ve taken my middle school cousins, nieces and nephews visiting from out of town on adventures around the city. Sometimes we are an extremely large group and sometimes extremely noisy. But, please go right ahead and avoid us. And yes when they ask (as children often do) why every white person crosses the street or avoids them, should I then say that culturally they think that “us blacks are all violent” ?!?!

  • Berg

    We desperately need more Metro transit police. It is unfair to expect a station manager, bus driver, train operator, etc. to get in the middle of these situations. Should they be trained on procedural responses- of course. Is there room for improvement? Obviously. But they certainly do not get paid enough to personally interject in potentially violent encounters. IMHO, some of them take far more verbal abuse than anyone deserves (see bus drivers).

    • sproc

      It’s definitely something about this city that drives me a little crazy. We’re teeming with law enforcement, but it’s mainly because every 2nd and 3rd rate federal agency has their own police force. Seriously, we need U.S. Government Printing Office Police??? Not to mention the big boys–the Pentagon Police or Capitol Police could probably do roll call at the Verizon Center. Meanwhile, MTPD seems stretched thin across the system, and Chief Lanier is always complaining about hiring and retention as well. I realize it’s apples and oranges, to a point, but I think it says a lot about our priorities in protecting all citizens.

  • John

    How come the local news stations don’t pick up a story like this?

    • anon

      Because “they” want people to feel safe and the city to continue growing by 1k residents per month

    • The OP Anon

      A lot of local pols and developers have a lot of power and money at stake. That’s why. Keep tax coffers filled, keep property prices high.

  • Soon to be former DC resident

    Taking my kids elsewhere. This may be the final straw.

  • dcdog76

    I feel horrible for the guy, but these groups of kids on metro are nothing new, and especially look out for them before school lets out for xmas and summer vacations when they are at their worst. If metro can’t deal with groups of juveniles, imagine if someone with the intent to harm and/or kill people does something on metro.

  • JMF

    I am jumping in kind of late to this conversation but… If this is how haphazardly Metro responds to a bunch of teens randomly attacking someone on a train how would Metro ever be able to respond to a coordinated terror attack? I’m pretty sure we would be on our own.

  • Kathryn-DC

    The new Metro GM has been asking for input, and many passengers have told him that they want increased presence of Metro police on the trains. Visible presence, not response after the fact.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Some additional info here, finally: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2015/12/22/man-assaulted-on-metros-red-line-during-rush-hour-attack/.
    Article indicates the three kids who a few of you saw arrested could not be positively identified as the attackers, and one witness states that the attackers got away and those who the police stopped were not the attackers. From the totality of the description, I halfway suspect that the two teens who were active participants in the assault choreographed the whole thing such that one of them would get the poor guy to stand from his seat and then the other would blindside him with a cheap shot and try to knock him out.

  • Heather

    Would be great if Metro Trains had security cameras (assuming they don’t) so that attackers could be identified and used in court as evidence.

  • h

    FWIW, I usually submit egregious stuff like this to WTOP and NBC4, both of whom have news tip feedback options on their websites.

  • Underwater Mike

    “Nobody needs to carry a gun in the District,” huh?

    • madmonk28

      All jokes about Bernie Goetz aside, no they don’t. The last thing I want is some sad little gun fetishist making a bad situation worse. Scared little white men with guns rarely improve situations.

      • jd

        “scared little white men” why are you racist?

    • Reality

      Lol, yeah, some loser waving his gun around and shooting at 10-12 youth would have solved the situation.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it’s the lack of social cohesion here, and that a large number people are relatively (to other cities) untethered by any common bonds; they come here for work, identify more with where they came here from, and plan to leave D.C. soon. Maybe it’s the strong undercurrent of racial and class animus, which are intertwined, and which other cities–including Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York–seem to not have as much of (when you have a large segments of working class white people in a city (for example, a lot of Baltimore; Northeast Philly; some parts of Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn), white people are not automatically stereotyped as effete, rich “gentrifiers,” and easy targets, on first sight).

    Whatever it is, I feel less safe on the Metro, and in “upcoming” neighborhoods, in DC than in similarly-priced neighborhoods in any of those three cities.

    It boggles my mind that people pay $750,000+ to live in crime-ridden neighborhoods with crappy schools in this city, where stuff like this is an unfortunately common occurrence. Unless you have a combined income of $300,000+ and can buffer yourself from situations like this, this city is not a good place to be…especially with a family.

    • Many people with those salaries here don’t have a “family”, at least not one who includes children. When my partner and I go out we almost always do so together, which immediately reduces your chances of being assaulted. We also don’t care about the school statistics, at least not in the sense that it has a benefit to us. I would like to see the schools get better, because that would mean that kids care more about learning and making something of themselves than robbing the people who already have, but that’s an aside.

    • The OP Anon

      I agree with a lot of the uniquely DC social factors you’ve described. Many folks currently living in DC don’t have pride in the city because they don’t see it as “their city.” It’s just a stopover in the longer trajectory of their career. I honestly don’t think you see attacks like these in NYC because NY’ers won’t tolerate random attacks like this on the subway – people are much more street smart.
      A commenter on Reddit put it best, I think:
      “I feel that we’re all a bunch of highly-educated little islands trying to live our idyllic lifestyles and looking out for ourselves only. These punks know they can get away with attacking someone because most Metro riders will just look on, desperately clutching their college degrees for solace.”

  • Reality

    Metro is doing nothing to protect its riders from crime. People are literally getting murdered on their trains and 0 change has been made.

  • Anon

    I was on the second car when this happened. I get on at Union station, usually the first car, but I saw the large group of kids mentioned and decided ‘nope’, they were already acting rowdy, you could see it from outside the train. One of them was wearing a baklava, I generally try to avoid anyone covering their face and acting rowdy.

    As the train pulled into the NoMa station, several of them exited the door leading to the next train, then climbed out to the platform between the cars while the doors were still closed. The rest of them faded into the crowd as they moved further down the train, into other cars. Most of us in the second car watched all of this, assuming they were just being rowdy, we had no idea what had happened until the train was unloaded.

    They were pretty much dispersed as the police showed up, I do not know if they caught any of them, but there were defiantly trains coming and going the other direction as all this happened.

    I suppose they felt pretty tough, attacking a person sitting alone en masse and then running away. It’s hard not to feel angry about this. I know it’s best to avoid this sort of thing, but how far do we let fear dictate our actions?

  • Ashley and you

    How do you sign up for the crime alert mentioned above? Is it helpful? I find the Alert DC notifications to be completely not useful.

  • ChooChooPolice

    MTPD has plainclothes officers. You may have seen or heard of them at times. They are a very small, proactive unit.
    However there focus is not on the rail side of the system, but at times they’ll be in the rail system. Due to OPSEC I’m not going to go into too much detail on when they’re in the system and when they’re not.
    Their focus is created by their higher ups.

    What you, the public, need to push is, to bring back MTPD RAT (Robbery Apprehension Team) and/or CST (Crime Suppression Team) units. They are successful crime fighting assets. In general you should push for more plainclothes officers in the rail system. Hell, push for a permanent metrowide plainclothes unit that combines all the above.
    Additionally, as you all repeatedly see, need to push on the doors of the US Attorneys office (USAO) and Office of Attorney General (OAG), to penalize guilty parties more effectively.

    I could arrest the same kid over and over and over, and I’ll still see him or her around the metro.

    But, with all the above mentioned, MTPD is smaller than MPD, but deal with the same riff raff. MPD is short on officers, as is the same for MTPD. So, it’s hard to staff plainclothes officers, without taking away from uniform patrol officers.

    I could go on and on responding to each comment about the failures and distrust in MTPD in doing their job, but then I’ll be here forever. The point I want to relay is, is that there is crime all over the district. In a 24hr period, there is more reported crime robbery / assault in DC than there is on metro. Just like crimes that occur on metro, those crimes that occur off metro, perps get away. Cops are not gonna be everywhere and around every second when a crime occurs. Even with increased presence, crime will just get pushed elsewhere. That’s just how our society is at this time unfortunately.

    However I can tell you this, we do catch and arrest many robbery and assault suspects. We don’t catch them all, but we make our best effort to. Even after the fact, we receive images from our cameras on suspects to lookout for to identify in violent crimes. We often do identify these suspects , our detectives get warrants for them , and we go and lock them up.

    Just one final thing, if you see something call 911 immediately or push the red button in the train car to talk to the operator. The faster we are notified, the faster we can respond. And when reporting, don’t sugarcoat stuff. If you see a group of juveniles doing what you think seems like they’re trying to rob or assault people, say it as that. Don’t say you see just some disorder juveniles on x train. What you report affects on how we respond to calls.


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