City Paper is not for tourists
Some Metro mayhem demonstrates how out of control a simple train ride can get.
City Desk has obtained video that sheds light on what happened after, on Dec. 23, some Metrorail customers found themselves sitting ducks as muggers terrorized them on an Orange Line train. The chaos took place between the Stadium-Armory and Minnesota Avenue stops. The footage shows the muggers escaping from a Minnesota Avenue exit. It also shows two of them socking a passerby for no apparent reason as they leave. The shocked patron shoves his hand inside of his bag as though he has a weapon and follows his assailants for a moment.
The robbery spurred contradictory accounts of what happened after it was reported on in January. The story of the mugging, as told by an anonymous poster on the blog Unsuck D.C. Metro, didn’t line up with a statement about the event released by Metro. The victim’s account said six masked men stormed the car, wielding guns, and ordered some passengers to the floor, and that the marauders beat their victims before taking off with their valuables.
But in an official statement, the transit authority offered a more subdued version of the story. Yes, a couple of passengers had been mugged, but there were only two assailants, and they weren’t armed—and the victims weren’t seriously hurt.The two thieves were arrested, said Metro. Since both were juveniles, their names haven’t been released.
Adding to the confusion, a Metropolitan Police Department report citing the only robbery in the area at that time told of victims held at gunpoint by a group of four. MPD never confirmed that they were referring to the same robbery, but the similarities were striking.
The Metro footage obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that at least three males bounded off the train after the robbery. Though there could be a fourth, it seems obvious that six is too many and two is too few. The idea of the robbers being unarmed, as Metro contended, seems erroneous. While fleeing from the train, one robber (wearing a mask) falls, then seems to drop something. He falls to the floor again before picking the object up. That’s not conclusive proof that there was a weapon involved. But moments later, as the suspects are running out of the the station, the same robber seems to threaten a Metro customer with a gun, reaching into his waistband and backing the customer down.
But play the footage and judge for yourself.