FBI agent accused of shooting Metro passenger released by judge

A judge released an FBI agent accused of shooting a Metro passenger last December — on good faith he returns in two weeks to face charges of second-degree attempted murder.

Eduardo Valdivia turned himself in Tuesday on charges stemming from a Dec. 15 shooting in Montgomery County, Maryland, on a Red Line train, his attorney Robert Bonsib said.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Valdivia, 37, on charges of attempted second-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and felony use of a firearm.

Judge Joan Ryan oversaw a short bench warrant hearing. Appearing by video from the Montgomery County Detention Center in a blue button-up T-shirt, Valdivia agreed to the terms of release on his own recognizance, that he surrender his passport, any weapons and stay away from Steven Slaughter.

Slaughter survived after he was shot Dec. 15 on a train between Metro’s Grovesnor and Medical Center stations. In laying out the facts of the case, prosecutor Robert Hill said another passenger called 911 after the shooting and explained what happened before it.

The victim sat across the aisle from Valdivia and engaged him in a conversation, ending with a fist bump and the man went on his way, allegedly muttering expletives after Valdivia would not give him any money.

“I think it’s important to remember that this is an agent who was used to working in dangerous and undercover capacities, he can see body language as he changes, he can feel the danger as it approaches. And the law does not require that you wait to be struck before you take action,” Bonsib said.

He said his client warned the victim when he approached again and got in Valdivia’s space to “back-up” before firing two shots, wounding the man. He was rushed to emergency surgery —  where, prosecutors said, part of his spleen, colon and pancreas had to be removed.

Both sides called the case complex, given the element of self-defense, Valdivia’s decision to use his service weapon in a public space, and the fact the victim was unarmed. But Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said it comes down to self-defense.

“Let me say the jury or a judge will decide when this matter is tried whether or not it was justified or not, we would not have brought the charge if we thought that it was protected by law,” he said.

Valdivia’s next hearing is set for June 11.

Megan Cloherty

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

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