Student who defended Metro attack victim is glad he stepped in

WASHINGTON — As 62-year-old John Rowley fought off attackers last Friday evening on a crowded Gallery Place Metro platform, one man stepped up to help: a 23-year-old law student. 

Andrew Miller was on his way home when he came upon the scene. Bystanders screamed and others watched, and he quickly realized that if no one did anything, Rowley would either be kicked in the head repeatedly or thrown against a moving train.

“When I realized that Mr. Rowley was in pretty bad shape, in a bad position, I realized I’m not going to be somebody who stands by, so I stepped up,” said Miller, who is from Dallas, Texas.

(Rowley was on his way to meet a friend Friday evening when he was attacked. He told WTOP earlier this week that he believes the group attacked him for fun.)

The George Washington University law student entered the fray, which involved an uncertain number of attackers, and took two punches. He blocked the first; the second knocked him down.

“I sufficiently used my face to end it,” joked Miller, who, at 5 feet 8 inches tall, didn’t exactly have a size advantage compared with the attackers.

Still, choosing to get involved meant that he drew the attackers’ sole focus away from Rowley. And he thinks it made them afraid that other bystanders would step in as well.

Shortly after the attack, Metro Transit police arrested two juveniles.

Rowley suffered a broken hand and severe bruising to his face. As for Miller, he still feels woozy six days after the scuffle, but has no regrets for helping someone who needed a hand.

“I’m glad that I took a few hits for him,” said Miller, who believes that if he had waited another few seconds, Rowley could have been in much worse shape.

His advice for anyone faced with a similar situation? Be ready to help at a moment’s notice, and either step in or call 911.

“Unless you have some reason physically not to be involved, I think that you should step up,” Miller said.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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