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Metro passengers tackle shooter on train after three shot and one killed

People on the train said they thought they were trapped with the gunman with no one on the way to help.

WASHINGTON — Police say passengers likely saved lives when they tackled the man accused of shooting two people and killing a Metro employee as the alleged shooter held a gun to another woman's head. 

"There was so much panic," said Timour Skrynnikov who was a passenger on a Metro train when he says accused killer 31-year old Isaiah Trotman walked on waving a gun. "I thought he was going to shoot me," Skrynnikov said. 

Police say Trotman had already shot three others and was threatening to shoot more.

It started around 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday on a Metro Bus, near the Potomac Avenue station, where police say for some yet unknown reason, Trotman shot another passenger in the leg and then went down into the Metro station where he shot another passenger near the fair gates.

That's when Metro says one of its mechanics, 64-year-old Robert Cunningham tried to stop the shooter. That's when police say Trotman shot and killed Cunningham in the head.

That's when Skrynnikov says the shooter got onto his train when the doors shut behind him.

"I was certain that he will shoot more people in the car," Skrynnikov said. "I looked outside the window and I could see Mr. Cunningham...motionless on the on the platform."

He said Trotman, "pointed the gun at the woman who was sitting across from me." And said Trotman said, "I'm going to shoot again."

Skrynnikov suspects another passenger hit the emergency button to stop the train before it could leave. The doors re-opened and offered a way out.

But Skrynnikov says with the shooter pacing through the train with his gun at the woman's head he decided stay and fight.

"I saw his back and I... just something just made me jump at him," he said. "It was a survival...instinct."

Then, Skrynnikov says another passenger named John T., who asked that his full name not be used, piled on and the two were able to tackle the suspected shooter to the ground where he lost control of his gun.

Police arrived and arrested him.

"Actually, I was in, I think it was God's help, you know, really very fortunate," Skrynnikov said. 

John T. told WUSA9 before the alleged shooter grabbed the woman and put his gun to her head he was pacing through the train car pointing the gun at others. One man, he recalled, said, "please don't shoot me."

John T. said he got the courage to intervene after seeing Skrynnikov make his first move for the suspected shooter.

"Everybody was scared to death," he said. "You're exposed, you can't even hide," he said of being trapped on the train with a man waving a gun.

Police have not offered a possible motive for the shootings. 

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