An FBI special agent who shot and wounded a fellow passenger aboard a Washington, DC-area Metro train in December 2020 was found not guilty of attempted murder and other related charges by a Maryland jury on Friday, according to the state’s attorney for Montgomery County.
“This was a case that should never have been prosecuted,” Robert Bonsib, an attorney for FBI supervisory special agent Eduardo Valdivia, told CNN on Sunday. “The jury saw it as we have said it from the beginning. This was a 100% case of self-defense.”
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said after the verdict that his decision to prosecute centered on whether Valdivia’s actions were reasonable.
“This was a tough case,” he said Friday. “We are disappointed with the verdict, but we respect the jury verdict in this case.”
As CNN has reported, Valdivia was on his way to work on the morning of December 15, 2020, when he allegedly got into a verbal exchange with a man while on a Red Line train before shots were fired.
Investigators with the Metro Transit Police said that video footage of the incident showed an adult male approaching Valdivia as the Metrorail car neared Medical Center Station in Bethesda, Maryland. Words were exchanged, when Valdivia discharged his weapon several times, the Metro Transit Police said.
The other passenger asked Valdivia for money and when Valdivia said that he didn’t have any, the man walked away spewing expletives, prosecutors said in court. Valdivia told the man to watch his mouth. The FBI agent’s response caused the other passenger to turn back around and get into Valdivia’s face before two shots were fired, prosecutors said.
The FBI Agents Association – an organization representing thousands of current and former FBI agents – applauded the jury’s acquittal, writing in a statement, “FBI Special Agents place their lives on the line every day, and SSA Valdivia’s actions in this incident were an example of the difficult, split-second decisions that are required to protect the public and ourselves.”