Slain Metro Mechanic from Silver Spring Hailed as a Hero

The Metro employee killed trying to protect a female passenger Feb. 1 during a shooting at the Potomac Avenue Metrorail in Washington, D.C. was born in Takoma Park and lived in Silver Spring.

Robert Cunningham, 64, has been declared a hero for his efforts to subdue the shooter. He leaves behind a wife and four children. A GoFundMe site has been established for his family. As of Wednesday morning, it has raised more than $175,000 from 2,800 donors.

According to Metro, Cunningham intervened on behalf of a customer and was shot in the act. He was a mechanic in the power department. Metro lowered its flags to half-staff in his honor.

“On behalf of the Metro Board, words cannot express how saddened we are to learn about the death of Mr. Cunningham. We understand that the employee acted with extreme bravery to help a customer who was being threatened by the shooter,” said Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg.

General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke added, “We grieve for our employee, his family, and all who have been affected by this senseless tragedy. I appreciate the outpouring of support Metro has received today. Gun violence must stop. Unfortunately, Metro is not immune to the violence that our country is experiencing right now. These senseless acts must be addressed together by our leaders and community. We will take time to process this loss and take care of our employees. We are all hurting and will continue to lean on each other for support.”

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, at about 9:19 a.m., shots were heard inside the Potomac Avenue station. Police saw two adult males who had been shot and evidence of gunfire on the sidewalk.

Isaiah Trotman, 31, of Southeast, D.C., was arrested and charged with first-degree murder while armed, kidnapping while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon.

During the shooting, Trotman allegedly pointed a handgun at a female and had a verbal exchange. Cunningham attempted to intervene, and the suspect shot him before entering an occupied Metro rail car. There, passengers disarmed him, police said.

Cunningham will be buried in Congressional Cemetery in D.C.

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