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Video shows moments before FBI agent shoots man at Metro Center

Video does not show the shooting itself, officials say; slain man’s mother says she does not know what could have prompted shooting

The scene outside Metro Center in D.C., where authorities say an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed a man Wednesday on a Red Line platform. (Emily Davies/The Washington Post)

Surveillance video captured the moments before an off-duty FBI agent fatally shot a man on a train platform at Metro Center in downtown Washington on Wednesday evening, but the shooting itself occurred off camera, leaving investigators with significant questions about what occurred, according to three law enforcement officials who watched the video.

The officials said the footage appears to show the man approaching at least one commuter and the FBI agent intervening — which sparks a fight between the agent and the man. In a news release, police said the man, 28-year-old Troy Bullock, pushed the agent over the railing, and both landed eight feet below the Red Line platform, away from the tracks.

Police said at that point the agent fired his gun, striking Bullock.

But the footage, from a Metro surveillance camera, does not show that moment, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. They also said the video does not include audio.

Those officials cautioned they are drawing some inferences based only on visual evidence, and they have not been privy to any statements the agent may have made to investigators. Officials said the FBI is cooperating with the investigation.

Officials also said they plan to release the video at some point. Police and the FBI have declined to identify the agent.

Danielle Bullock, 45, said she could not imagine what would have caused an FBI agent to shoot her son. She described Troy Bullock, whom she called “TJ,” as a dedicated employee for a local moving company who spent his free time with his girlfriend and extended family.

“What was the purpose of shooting him?” Bullock said, sitting at her kitchen table on Thursday with her head between her hands. “It was for no reason.”

Earlier Thursday, police said they found a firearm on Troy Bullock after he had been shot. Authorities did not say whether Bullock displayed the gun or if the agent knew he was armed. Authorities described the agent as a senior member of the FBI who worked at headquarters and said he was injured in the fall. He was treated at a hospital for injuries not thought to be life-threatening, police said.

Danielle Bullock said her son had spent that Wednesday like any other day: First at work, then at his father’s apartment before leaving to commute to his girlfriend’s place.

Bullock said police had told her that her son had been involved in an “altercation” with an FBI agent. She said that did not sound like the man she knew.

Members of the Bullock family said they knew Troy had had legal troubles in the past, but they thought he was in a good place now, working hard and dreaming of moving out of D.C. to buy a big house for his siblings and cousins.

“TJ was our provider and protector,” said Tanquazia Bullock, his 28-year-old cousin. She said they grew up together in D.C., and she recalled riding on the back of their grandfather’s wheelchair to pick up snacks from 7-Eleven. She said Troy was always cracking jokes.

Outside the family home, Troy Bullock’s father, who declined to give his name, paced back and forth. The young man had long admired his father, according to multiple members of the family, and inherited his intense work ethic. They spent time together almost every day.

“They might as well kill me, too,” the father said. “They took away the only thing I got.”

In a statement, Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association, said agents “place their lives on the line every day and are expected by the public to thwart criminal threats.”

Off-duty FBI agent fatally shoots person at Metro Center, police say

The shooting at Metro Center at 13th and G streets NW, and another shooting Thursday morning at the Benning Road station in Northeast Washington, have brought new attention to violence occurring within the transit system. In the latest incident at the Benning Road station, police said two teens and an adult were shot during an altercation.

One of the teens, a 15-year-old who police said they think was the shooter’s intended target, was critically injured. A 34-year-old woman and another 15-year-old male were struck by stray bullets and had non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The suspect remains at large, authorities said.

Metro General Manager Randy Clarke has said transit police have increased patrols at stations this fall in response to violence occurring on trains, buses or inside stations.

In both recent shootings, commuters reported panic, with people fleeing the gunfire. At Metro Center, a central commuter hub with many connecting lines, one person posted on Twitter: “Was close enough to see the flash from the last 2 shots. Never moved so fast in my life.”

People on the Metro Center platform — headed in the direction of Glenmont — said they ran or hid behind escalators, and it appeared a train passed through the station to get passengers to safety.

Two officers who responded to the scene arrived three or four minutes after gunshots were fired, Clarke said. They immediately jumped down to administer aid to the man who had been shot, he said.

Clarke also lauded the actions of a Metro train operator who was approaching the Metro Center station when she heard the gunshots and continued on.

“There was a fair amount of chaos obviously going on, and then in the fog-of-war scenario with a gunshot, she did not open her door,” he said.

“She re-powered through and went to the next station and kept all of her customers from potential danger.”

He said he called the operator on Thursday to thank her.

“There’s too many guns,” he said. “Quite frankly, I’m not sure everyone’s being held to the full account of the law for some of the actions they are taking. And I think most people in society are getting tired of this.”

Three shot at Benning Road Metro station, police say

Wednesday’s shooting came days after an FBI agent was acquitted of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of a man aboard a moving Metro train in December 2020.

Authorities said the agent was approached by a man who was panhandling and got into a verbal altercation with him. The agent said he fired his gun to defend himself after the man made threats and appeared to take an aggressive posture.

A prosecutor said the agent had “no business firing a gun.”