WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—More than a week after a shooting that killed Metro employee Robert Cunningham, neighbors who live nearby the Potomac Avenue Station are pushing for increased safety measures at the stop.
“It’s just very unfortunate and it makes me sad,” said Ward 6 resident Lataunya Dardan, who takes that stop to work daily.
“I was very shocked. I never thought that would happen at this station,” she said.
Thursday, residents of Ward 6 met for a community meeting to discuss what happened and how to move forward.
“A lot of folks have told me about their experiences walking kids to school and being a few blocks away when (the shooting) happened and that scares you, that shakes you,” said Matt LaFortune, ANC Commissioner for the area.
LaFortune said residents were already working on ways to increase safety at the Metro stop prior to the quadruple shooting. He said there have been several shootings in the vicinity of the train stop within a 90-day period.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a number of incidents of gun violence over the last months,” he said. “When it happens on your block it’s going to be a priority to you regardless, but what happened at the Metro station is going to be a shock to everyone.”
LaFortune said proposed plans include making the station a Safe Passage spot for kids walking to and from school. They also plan to reinvigorate the plaza, possibly by making it a temporary library site while the Southeast branch closes for renovations.
Neighbors would also like to see more police presence.
“Since that incident, we have had an open and close detail at the station, that has officers around the clock making sure we have high visibility,” said Metro Transit Police Captain Maurice McKinney.
McKinney admitted staffing is a problem. Right now, MTP is ramping up recruiting efforts. In the meantime, he said partnering agencies like the Metropolitan Police Department will help with patrols.
MTP also noted that violent crime is down over the last two years at the Potomac Avenue Station.