Union Station Temporarily Closed After Brawl

Posted June 4, 2010 at 1:07pm

What at first appeared to be a shooting that resulted in the closing of Union Station on Friday afternoon turned out to be a brawl between two large groups of teenagers. No shots were fired, but one 16-year-old boy has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

“He was jumped for his sneakers,” said Angel Surratt, the boy’s mother, who was crying and visibly shaken. “It’s sad,” she added, before breaking off the interview to go visit her son in the hospital.

Surratt wasn’t at the scene when the alleged assault occurred but arrived soon after.

Union Station was chaotic as dozens of officers from the Metropolitan, Metro Transit and Capitol police departments, plus paramedics, responded to what was initially reported to be a shooting.

The station was closed from 1:18 p.m. until 1:45 p.m., at which time Metro Police officers armed with M-4 assault rifles exited the station.

“The immediate response, especially in this era with terrorism and everything, is to go and secure everything first,” Transit Police spokesman Lt. Mitch Dowdy said.

Dowdy said two people have been detained after a brawl started at the Fort Totten Metro Station and continued across Union Station and Metro Center.

“There were several people fighting,” he said. “One person appeared to be injured on the ground. He may have been unconscious. He is without his sneakers right now.”

Surratt said police told her that three guns were recovered from the assailants, but while Dowdy said that weapons were recovered, he declined to say whether they were guns.

A woman, who wanted to be identified simply by her last name because she was afraid, said she saw two groups of a total of about 25 teenagers board a train that she was riding at Fort Totten.

“They started coming at each other using profanity and wanting to fight,” Carr said. “One said, ‘I have a gun,’ and the other said, ‘I got one too,'” although she said she didn’t see any guns.

“They surrounded us,” she added.

But as the two groups began to brawl at the Union Station stop, Carr said, they agreed to “let the ladies off.”

“When the door opened, we just ran out,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Ra-Heem Jackson, 15, a relative of the hospitalized boy, said he was exiting Union Station when he realized the boy had fallen behind.

“By the time we got to the top, we heard a lot of commotion,” he said. “We went back down and he was on the floor” unresponsive with blood in his mouth.

Dowdy said there is no evidence to indicate this was a gang fight.

The two people detained have not yet been arrested.

Police are continuing to gather evidence.