Brief panic at Washington rail hub as stabbing suspect shot

Brief panic at Washington rail hub as stabbing suspect shot
PHOTO: Reuters

WASHINGTON - Panicked passengers fled Washington's main train station Friday after a security officer fatally shot a man who had stabbed a woman, in what police said appeared to be a domestic incident.

The man was taken to hospital but later died.

The incident - which sparked a brief panic at Union Station - came on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when US authorities are on high alert, especially across the capital city.

Rail service at the station - a main Amtrak hub on the US East Coast rail line linking Boston, New York and Washington - resumed shortly after the incident.

Police commander Jeff Brown told reporters that the suspect apparently stabbed the woman at the entrance to an adjacent building, and was then chased into the station by an armed security officer from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The officer fired one round when the suspect refused to surrender his weapon and lunged toward him. The suspect was hit in the side, and his injuries - along with those of the woman - were initially deemed not life-threatening, he said.

But Friday evening, police said the man had succumbed to his injuries.

"The suspect has passed," a police spokesman, Officer Sean Hickman, told AFP.

The man has not been identified.

Brown said police believed the incident to be domestic-related.

"There is no active shooter, there was no active shooter. This was an isolated incident," he said.

Tony Denniston, who was waiting to take a train to Connecticut, told AFP that he was about 50 feet (15 meters) away from where the shooting occurred.

Denniston said he saw the officer open fire on a man at a McDonald's in the station, which is located near passenger boarding areas.

Polly Hanson, chief of Amtrak police, said people in the station evacuated when the shot was fired.

Hanson noted that extra security personnel were in the station "in a surge capacity" because of the September 11 anniversary.

"We momentarily stopped trains and we're providing full service right now," she said.

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