ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Metrolink riders are beginning to grow wary after an innocent bystander at the Busch Stadium Metrolink platform was shot in the head from a gun fired inside a train and hospitalized in critical condition.
Police are investigating the shooting on the train. Two passengers were reportedly robbed and punched in the face.
Renee Goodnick has been riding Metrolink to work downtown for 10 years and says she witnessed an incident just last week.
“Young guy got on the train, one of those punky kids I want to call him, and he had on his earbuds and was singing at the top of his lungs, and an older gentleman said ‘could you please quiet down?’ and he started to threaten him,” she recounts.
Some riders also complained of passengers smoking, playing loud music or using abusive language on the Metrolink trains. Others say they only feel safe when the train is packed, and they avoid taking a chance on Metrolink when crowds are light.
Metrolink’s Bi-State Development President and CEO John Nations agrees people are rattled.
“What we need is to have a system that the public is assured is safe for them to ride on,” he says. “I think we need to increase the patrols on the system, both our own patrols and the patrols of the police jurisdiction.”
He says those patrols are paid for by transit funds, even if it’s city or county police making the rounds, and Nations says riders should be asking those police chiefs what they plan to do to reduce crime on the rails.
Nations says there are no talks, at least not anymore, about Metro forming its own, commissioned, police force.
“Clearly the security and the safety and the reassurance to the traveling public needs to increase,” he says.
The Democratic nominee for St. Louis Mayor, Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, says it’s time to get serious about security deficiencies at Metrolink.
Krewson favors installing turnstiles at Metro stations, and while she knows that’s expensive, it’s a necessity to keep things more controlled. She also says the city needs more police officers to keep people safe.
“We certainly need to hire more police officers. We are short in the city of St. Louis almost a hundred officers at this time, and so a concerted effort to hire up to at least our budgeted strength would be important,” she says.
Krewson’s Republican opponent Andrew Jones says the city needs to analyze incidents on the Metrolink and determine where the shortfalls are to better assess how to utilize city resources. Jones believes narcotics are behind many of the violent crimes in the city, and should be his first priority.
“We need to form a task force. We need to add a division that deals specifically with the narcotics,” he says.
Capt. Mary Warnecke with St. Louis police says the 57-year-old shooting victim is in grave condition and not expected to survive.
Investigators on Monday released a photo from surveillance footage depicting a man who they believe witnessed the incident. That photo can be seen here.
Anyone with information about that photo or the incident in general is being asked to contact the St. Louis Police Department.