You may remember the big-deal shooting which happened on a Red Line train near our nation’s capitol, on December 15, 2020. An “FBI agent” was immediately identified as the shooter but nobody would say another word about it. Now that agent Eduardo Valdivia has been acquitted, the tale can be revealed.
FBI agent shot panhandler
When an FBI agent shoots someone on a public transit train, it’s a big deal. Especially when the train is pulling into “Medical Center station,” which serves both the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.
That’s where Anthony Fauci was hanging out at the time and his name was all over the news. The fact that nobody would say a word about what happened made everyone that much more curious. Speculation was rampant. Now, two years later, we know what really happened.
FBI agent Eduardo Valdivia, 38, “was acquitted of attempted second-degree murder and other counts” by a Maryland jury on Friday, December 2, He was “justified” in shooting “a panhandler who had confronted him aboard a moving Metro train outside Washington, D.C.”
The agent shot the man from 2 to 3 feet away, prosecutors said, and did not identify himself as an agent until after the shooting. A 911 caller reportedly disputed that assertion. https://t.co/KBCCQB1j5T
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) December 3, 2022
At the end of the four day trial, everyone on the Defense side remained tense. If convicted, he could have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.
Surveillance video from the interior of the train helped convince the jury that “deadly force was justified in self-defense.” They considered whether it may have also been “an overreaction that escalated too quickly.”
The tipping point for their decision to acquit was the real possibility the bum could have ended up with the FBI agent’s gun, and used it on other passengers. Sure, the agent has hand-to-hand combat training but anything can happen during a scuffle in limited space on a moving train.
A nearly empty train
That fateful morning, FBI agent Valdivia was minding his own business, seated “in a nearly empty train around 6:30 a.m. when he was approached by a man who was panhandling.” Apparently, the word “no” wasn’t in his vocabulary. He didn’t comprehend the concept of “go away,” either.
The men “got into a verbal altercation.” Valdivia stood up. They were “facing each other, just inches apart, with Valdivia’s back against an end of the train car.”
The pair exchanged words which “were not picked up by the recording.” The gist of it was related in court though. Defense attorney Robert Bonsib “established at least part of” what the assailant told the FBI agent.
According to the detective who interviewed the panhandler, he told Valdivia, “I’ll throw you through this wall.” That’s when the agent shot him without warning. “The man’s threats and aggressive posture, according to Bonsib, were enough to convince the agent he could get his gun taken and turned on him.”
Under Maryland law, which controls in this case, “any ordinary guy on his way to work” has the right to use deadly force to “defend himself against the threat of imminent bodily harm.” Just because he’s a judo trained agent of the FBI doesn’t mean he’s required to use “less lethal” force if he doesn’t want to.
Valdivia had spent years working undercover as an agent and could sense an imminent attack. His use of “the force” turned out to be right because “the man was reputed to have a ‘propensity for violence‘ among Metro system police officers.“