Metro Transit police shot and killed a deer that had wandered onto the tracks between Fort Totten and Takoma stations Sunday, transit agency officials said.

Metro spokesman Ron Holzer said in an email that the agency’s emergency response personnel and transit police “humanely dispatched” the animal. He said the deer’s appearance and death altogether caused about a 10-minute delay on the Red Line.

The animal was “put down in a manner that immediately ends needless suffering,” Holzer said. Asked how the deer died, he added: “MTPD-issued firearm. One shot.”

The deer, Holzer said, died instantly.

Holzer said the deer sustained an apparently self-inflicted injury before its death, though he did not specify what. He said Metro officials considered options other than shooting the deer, though he also did not specify what.


Killing by shooting “is not an unprecedented course of action when an animal is injured on railroad property,” Holzer said.

Sean Kennedy was at Fort Totten waiting for a Red Line train to Silver Spring when he heard a “very loud bang.”

Kennedy, along with roughly two dozen other riders, whipped around and saw that “[Metro police] had used one of the police rifles to shoot a deer that was probably about 50 to 100 feet from the end of the platform on the tracks,” he said. “It was moving a little bit, but I think it died pretty quickly.”

For Kennedy and the other riders, the whole scene was “very startling,” he said. Perhaps less so for Kennedy than for others, he added, because he used to work in law enforcement and is “pretty used” to gunfire.


“I don’t think anybody screamed, but they were looking over the tracks and saying, ‘Oh, they shouldn’t have shot the deer,’ stuff like that,” he said. For the next several minutes, “People were talking about how the deer was shot and not much else.”


Kennedy said a few passengers approached transit police, possibly to voice objections, but were told to “stay back, it’s a police matter.”

Roughly three to five minutes later, Kennedy said, the deer’s remains appeared to have been cleared off the tracks, and trains began rolling again.

Kennedy marked the moment by texting his fiancee: “Hey, deer was shot on the tracks, don’t panic. And, as he finally boarded his car and sped home, Kennedy decided to tweet about the shooting.

“I mean, I’ve seen a few fights on the Metro before, but nothing like that,” he said. “This is definitely one of the more interesting Sundays I’ve had in D.C.”