Isaiah Trotman is the suspect accused of shooting four people, killing one, at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station in Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2023, police said in a press release.
Trotman, 31, of Southeast, Washington, D.C., was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder while armed, kidnapping while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon, he D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said in the press release. Police have not released a motive or additional detail about the suspect.
The shooting happened about 9 a.m., police said. The 64-year-old victim who was killed, Robert Cunningham, worked for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, according to officials. The other victims injured in the incident are expected to survive, police said.
The investigation is ongoing, according to police. “Anyone who may have been in the Potomac Avenue Metro Station and witnessed any portion of the offense is encouraged to contact police at 202-727-9099 or text 50411,” D.C. Metro Police said in the press release.
Here’s what you need to know about D.C. metro station shooting suspect Isaiah Trotman:
1. Isaiah Trotman Said ‘I’m the Killmonger’ as He Opened Fire at the Metro Station, a Witness Told Reporters
Police said in the press release, “At approximately 9:19 am, MPD First District officers responded to 1400 block of Potomac Avenue, Southeast, for the report of the sounds of gunshots directly outside of the Potomac Avenue Metro Station. Upon arrival, officers located evidence of a gunfire on the sidewalk. Officers then entered the Metro Station and located two adult male shooting victims.”
According to police, “The detectives’ investigation revealed that the suspect was on a Metrobus, at the listed location, when he brandished a handgun and engaged in an altercation with an adult male victim. After the suspect and victim exited the bus, the suspect discharged the handgun striking the victim. This victim left the scene and notified police of the event. This victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.”
A witness told DCNewsNow reporter Joseph Olmo the shooter appeared to be firing at random and said to witnesses, “I’m the killmonger.”
Police said the suspect, identified as Trotman, then went into the metro station and fired again, injuring the second victim. He pointed the gun at a woman and “a verbal exchange ensued,” police said. Cunningham, the slain WMATA employee, then tried to intervene and was shot and killed, according to police.
“The suspect then entered an occupied Metro rail car. After a brief period of time, passengers were able to disarm the suspect. The suspect was detained by responding officers,” police said. “DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and after finding no signs consistent with life, the decedent remained on the scene until transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The second victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.”
Police added, “Additionally, there were initial reports of a fourth victim with a minor gunshot wound to the hand. During the investigation, it was determined the victim sustained a laceration and the injury was not as a result of gunfire.”
2. Trotman Was Arrested in Pennsylvania in 2022 on Drug Charges, in D.C. in 2020 on a Simple Assault Charge & Was Accused of Domestic Violence by His Girlfriend, Records Show
Isaiah Trotman has a criminal history in Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, and police responded to multiple domestic violence calls involving him and his girlfriend in 2019 and 2020, according to public records and The Washington Post.
Trotman was charged with simple asault in August 2020 in D.C. when he was accused of swinging at a group of women, hitting one in the lip and causing a cut, according to The Post. The charge was later dropped, according to the newspaper.
According to the Gettysburg Times, Trotman was arrested in Straban Township, Pennsylvania, on April 28, 2022, and charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver, driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered, and public drunkenness.
Court records viewed by Heavy show Trotman pleaded guilty in Adams County court on January 12, 2023, to a felony charge of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver drugs, and the other charges were withdrawn. His sentencing is scheduled for April 17, 2023, court records show.
The district attorney’s office in Adams County told DCist that Trotman was “acting erratically and confronting guests” at a local motel. The news site wrote, “Trotman had water bottles in each hand and said his legs would not work if he let go of them, according to arrest documents. Police found 12 bags of meth, marijuana, and other paraphernalia in his SUV.”
3. Trotman, a Nashville Native Who Served in the National Guard & Went to Auburn University, Bought a Home for More Than $500,000, Records Show
According to public records, Trotman owns a home in Southeast D.C. he bought for $530,000 in May 2019. He has also lived in Virginia, Alabama and Maryland, records show. His mother told The Washington Post he was born in Nasvhille and studied at Auburn University.
A LinkedIn profile shows Trotman was a media and digital resource worker while he was studying at Auburn in 2010. His mother said he majored in finance, graduating in 2015, and worked in IT after college, The Post reported.
Trotman was in a military program while at Auburn, her mother told the newspaper, and the Air Force told The Post he served in the Air National Guard. A Facebook page includes a photo of Trotman in his uniform.
4. Trotman Is Undergoing a Mental Health Evaluation & Has a History of Mental Illness, The Washington Post Reports
According to The Post, Trotman was hospitalized for a mental health evaluation after the shooting. He has not yet appeared in court or been booked into jail, according to online records. His mother and ex-girlfriend told the newspaper Trotman suffered from depression and other mental illness.
On Facebook, Trotman’s ex-girlfriend wrote that she spent five years dating him and tried to help him and get him help. She wrote that he has “gone downhill” since their breakup and was “fighting demons.”
Trotman and his ex-girlfriend broke up in 2020, she told The Post. The newspaper wrote, “About six months ago, she said, he showed up at her home and broke the front door to her residence. She said she called police but did not file charges.”
5. The Victim, Robert Cunningham, Is Being Hailed as a Hero
The victim who was killed, Robert Cunningham, is being hailed as a hero. The WMATA said in a statement, “Metro is mourning the loss of a heroic employee, Robert Cunningham, who intervened on behalf of a customer today at Potomac Avenue Station and was a victim of senseless gun violence. Mr. Cunningham was 64 years old and a mechanic in our power department. In his remembrance, Metro has lowered its flags to half-staff during this time of grief.”
Greg Bowen Jr., a friend and co-worker of 17 years, told NBC Washington about Cunningham, “We lost a hero. We lost a shining star of somebody who cared, someone who was dedicated to making sure that the system ran great not just for, you know, himself or for a job, but for everybody else around, for his coworkers to be safe, for the public to get back and forth. He genuinely cared.”
Mary Whalen, a neighbor who has known the victim, who went by Bob Cunningham, for 30 years, told WJLA, “I think he was the kind of person – obviously now we know – that would stick up for somebody that needed help. I wasn’t surprised at all he would do that. He was doing his job, which was to tell that gentleman, ‘You cannot harass this lady. You can’t pull guns out. We don’t do this.’ I don’t think he gave it one second of thought that it could mean his life.”
Whalen added in an interview with the news station, “He was a really good family man. He had, I believe, four children, and he was very proud of them. He and I had many conversations about the children. My conversations more with him were related to the children and his family, and what they might be doing or not doing, and his dog.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Cunningham’s family.