Passenger SHOT DEAD on Amtrak train traveling to Missouri, gunman flees undetected
The passenger, Richie T Aaron Jr, was reportedly pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene
A passenger was fatally shot by a gunman on an Amtrak train traveling to Missouri on Friday, January 14. The police authorities have identified the deceased aboard Amtrak's River Runner route as Richie T Aaron Jr, 31, from Independence, Missouri.
In a statement released on Sunday, January 16, the officials investigating the case said that they believe the suspect had exited the train undetected when it stopped in Lee's Summit station. The police also said that even after the shots had been fired, the train continued to Independence, Missouri, because it wasn’t immediately known that the passenger had been shot.
Sgt Chris Depue, a spokesman for the Lee’s Summit Police Department, said that the police did learn there were not “a large number of passengers” in the train car, and those onboard “did not immediately recognize that a person had been shot."
However, by the time, the train reached Independence at around 9.15 pm, the cops had been alerted and emergency personnel were waiting. As per a KMBC-TV report, Aaron was pronounced dead at the scene by the paramedics.
Passenger Chris Shaw, who was traveling with his young son, told ABC affiliate station KMBC, Missouri that he heard the gunshot. He said he immediately told Amtrak crew members that he saw the gunman get off the train in Lee's Summit and asked them to call the police. Shaw said that after hearing the shot, he turned his back to the gunman and pushed his son into a restroom to keep him away from harm's way. He said he doesn't understand why police weren't immediately called and the train wasn't stopped as soon as it pulled out of Lee's Summit.
"If you are on a plane or a train or a school or anywhere, and you hear gunshots, you call the police, you stop," Shaw said. "You don't wait 40 minutes while there's a guy dead lying on a seat."
Amtrak released a statement saying that it is complying with the ongoing investigation. "Amtrak is supporting local authorities who are investigating a tragic incident last night involving two passengers on Train 313. One of the passengers is a fatality, while the other left the scene in Lee’s Summit, Missouri".
"There were no injuries to the other 81 passengers and the Amtrak crew and they were all provided alternate transportation to their final destination. Amtrak takes its responsibility for safe travel seriously," the company said.
In an unrelated incident on Saturday, January 15, an Amtrak conductor died tragically after she fell from a train at Westerly station, Rhode Island, according to Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey. The train was prevented from leaving the station as staff could not locate the conductor. She was also unresponsive to her radio. The police had identified the conductor as a 26-year-old woman from Massachusetts.
"She was preparing to stop at the Westerly station as they opened the doors prior to stopping," Chief Lacey said. "Something must have happened causing her to fall she must have become caught underneath the train and was killed as a result."
Amtrak issued a statement to NBC10: "We are deeply saddened to report the death of an Amtrak employee in Westerly, RI today. We are respecting the family’s privacy by not naming the employee at this time. No other injuries were reported, and a full investigation is underway."