After the second shooting at a Metro station in about 15 hours, Metro’s general manager says he’s had enough of gun violence inside and outside his system.
“I’m sick and tired of gun violence,” Metro GM Randy Clarke told WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington Thursday afternoon. “I know the mayor’s sick and tired of it; a bunch of other people are speaking out.”
Clarke spoke after an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed a man at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday inside the Metro Center station, and three people were shot, including two teenagers, at the Benning Road station at about 9 a.m. Thursday.
The general manager said the problem in Metro is simply a problem in society.
“I don’t think this is being political in nature: We have a gun problem in America,” Clarke said. “And that’s not Metro’s problem; we are impacted by that.”
Clarke praised the train operator who “sped through [the Metro Center] station after she got word” about the shooting, “and kept people out of danger. We have great people here protecting people every day.” He added that the automated control system Metro is pushing to return to service would include an override for a human operator to pull the same move if necessary.
He emphasized that the chance of “actually having an incident on Metro — it’s incredibly, incredibly small. We are arguably the safest part of the whole region, and we’re working to get safer every day.” If you stayed away from anywhere that there was a chance of being shot, he said, “[By] that logic you would never go to the movie theater or the grocery store, a school or anything else.”
Clarke added that while it might seem a larger police presence would help, there’s been a 25% increase in Metro Transit Police patrols since he took over as GM. He said he rode through the Metro Center station about two minutes before Wednesday night’s shooting, and “I interacted with six police officers on my rail trip last night. … I cannot and will not have enough police where every human being sees police on every bus and train — that is impossible. That’s not how our world works. But we have an enormous amount of police presence out there.”
There’s a limit to what the police can do, he said: “We could have half of this room be police officers. Everywhere you go [there] can be a police officer. That’s not the world we live in. We are a democracy, right, wrong or indifferent. We have interpretations of gun laws that have created where we’re at.”
“And I’m tired of it.”