‘We lost a shining star’: Metro riders, colleagues remember mechanic slain in Potomac Ave. shooting

Colleagues and friends are remembering Robert Cunningham — the Metro mechanic who was killed while trying to protect a customer during a shooting at D.C.’s Potomac Avenue station Wednesday.

Metro General Manager Randy Clarke called Cunningham a hero. His co-worker and friend Greg Bowen Jr. told NBC Washington that Cunningham was a “gentle giant.”

“We lost a shining star of somebody who cared,” Bowen said.

The men worked together at Metro for 17 years, and Bowen remembered Cunningham for his passion for providing service to others.

“[He was] someone who was dedicated to making sure that the system ran great not just for himself or a job, but for everybody else around, for his co-workers to be safe, for the public to get back and forth; he genuinely cared.”

Robert Cunningham was a Metro mechanic killed during a shooting at the Potomac Avenue station in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy Metro)

Metro established an online fundraiser for the 64-year-old mechanic, who leaves behind a wife and four children, and encouraged visitors to “support to help his family with their daily lives and to contribute to the college expenses of their children.”

The Go Fund Me page had grown well past its $25,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon.

Contributor Julia Snodgrass wrote a message with her donation: “As a neighbor and (Potomac Avenue Metro) user, I will be forever grateful for his brave and selfless actions. Any of us could’ve been in that situation, but not everyone would have the courage to act in the way Mr. Cunningham did.”

With his donation, James Allen wrote, “This could have been me, so I feel we, as co-workers ,should do what we can to help.”

The alleged shooter, who police said also wounded three others, is facing first-degree murder charges for Cunningham’s killing. NBC Washington reported that the suspect has a criminal history and “suffers from mental illness.”

Watch NBC Washington’s coverage below.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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