According to court records unsealed on Tuesday, June 1, an FBI agent has been charged with attempted murder for shooting a passenger who asked him for money on a moving metro last year in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., while he was off-duty.
Eduardo Valdivia, 37, was also charged with first-degree assault and dangerous harm concerning a Metro Red Line train incident on Dec. 15, 2020.
He surrendered to authorities at a Montgomery County jail on Tuesday morning, and after his first court hearing, he was released without a bond.
The man approached Valdivia on his way to work on the morning of the shooting and asked for money, prosecutors said in court on Tuesday. After the agent refused, the man walked away, muttering swear words.
Valdivia allegedly said to the man asking for the money, “Watch your mouth.” But the man turned around and approached the agent.
The agent shot numerous bullets after they exchanged words, according to a statement released by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority on Dec. 18, 2020.
The passenger was hit many times; he was taken to the hospital where he was operated on and had some of his spleen, colon, and pancreas removed.
In December, Metro Traffic Police Department officials said that they had studied videotapes and taken testimony from Metro staff, passengers, and others.
A witness claimed that the agent had ordered the guy to back away, but the man disobeyed the commands and instead stood up to fight.
In a statement, Valdivia’s lawyer Robert Bonsib claimed the other passenger “engaged in threatening and aggressive behavior” at short distance.
“One does not wait to be physically attacked—one does not wait until the threat has ’hands on you—before one is authorized to defend oneself,” Bonsib said.
Valdivia joined the FBI in 2011 and, according to his lawyer, “has an impeccable personal and professional background.” The agent was giving “operational guidance and programmatic oversight” of FBI inquiries into racially motivated and anti-government extremists at the time of the incident.
Bonsib also included documents related to the gunshot victim, including prior charges for sexual misconduct (such as self-disclosure) and unjustified physical attacks. Court documents, according to Bonsib, suggested the wounded man has a record of erratic and aggressive behavior, including an alleged attack and threatening to murder someone at a subway station in 2019.
According to the spokeswoman Joy Jiras, the FBI’s Baltimore field office was notified of the charges and was cooperating with the investigative process. She said that following the shooting, an internal investigation was being conducted.