Third crime involving weapons on system in days

Two masked men held a Metro rider at gunpoint on a Blue Line train during the evening rush, stealing his shoes, music player and cellphone.

The brazen armed robbery occurred about 6:20 p.m. Thursday, during what is normally a busy time on the transit system. It was the third incident involving deadly weapons on the system within days.

The man who was robbed had boarded the train at Addison Road heading west into downtown when he was approached by the two men, Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said. Both were wearing masks and showed a black handgun, demanding the man's tennis shoes and electronic devices.

The man did as they demanded and was not injured.

When the train arrived at the Stadium-Armory stop, the two robbers fled, Stewart said. Metro Transit Police canvassed the area but did not find the robbers. No detailed description of them was available. The transit system is busy at that hour but generally has trains packed when headed in the opposite direction.

The robbery came on the heels of two other violent incidents on the transit system in one week. On New Year's Eve, a knife and a gun were pulled on the Green and Yellow platform at Gallery Place about 5:15 p.m., prompting a frantic scramble on the platform, according to one rider's account. A man with a knife was involved in a fight, according to Metro, and a federal law enforcement officer who was there drew his service weapon. But riders didn't immediately realize he was a federal authority.

No one was injured. Metro Transit Police arrested one person and recovered the knife, Stewart said.

Hours later, a woman was stabbed in the chest and shoulder while riding a Route 93 Metrobus in Southeast D.C.

At about 2:20 a.m., the woman told the bus operator she had been stabbed by another passenger. The driver stopped the bus on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and W Street, and the man fled. Metro police were looking for four men in the case.

Metro does not separately categorize crimes involving weapons in its crime statistics, but incidents like those that occurred last week remain relatively unusual. The transit agency reported 82 aggravated assaults and 207 robberies for the first eight months of 2012, the latest time period for which statistics are available. But Metro had a deadlier year in 2012 than usual, with four homicides in the transit system compared with the typical single case per year.