- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Police reported Thursday that a Northeast man was fatally stabbed Wednesday night outside the Addison Road Metro station, the latest in a spate of violent incidents along the regional transit system’s subway lines.

Metro Transit Police said that Vontrel Laarius McDaniel, 35, was stabbed in the chest with a “switchblade-style knife” about 7:18 p.m. at the subway station in Prince George’s County. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested Ali Anthony Jovan, 36, of Fairfax, in connection with Mr. McDaniel’s slaying and charged him with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

According to transit police, Mr. McDaniel got into an argument with Mr. Jovan in a bus bay at the Addison Road station before the suspect stabbed the victim in the chest with the knife. Mr. Jovan tried to run away from the scene, but Metro Transit Police caught him quickly.

Wednesday’s stabbing was the third at the Addison Road Metro station on the Blue Line this year, according to media reports.

Metro enhanced its safety measures in February by increasing the number of officers on duty during later hours, but violence is still occurring.

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According to the Metro Transit Police Five-Year Crime Report, the number of aggravated assaults on Metro property has risen from 109 in 2011 to 116 last year. In addition, two homicides occurred at Metro stations last year. So far this year, four people have been slain at stations.

Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said there’s only so much the transit agency can do to prevent crime.

“There’s nothing linked to Metro about this,” Mr. Jordan said of Wednesday’s stabbing at the Addison Road station. “It’s the kind of thing that’s difficult to predict.”

Metro monitors crime rates at each of its stations and assigns officers accordingly. For example, two 15-year-olds — John Rufus Evans III and Davonte Washington — were killed within three weeks of each other at the Deanwood Metro station in Northeast. Security patrols subsequently were increased at the subway stop.

“We did announce at the time that we were going to increase patrol specifically at Deanwood,” Mr. Jordan noted.

Posting more officers at certain stations doesn’t necessarily prevent crime, but it does improve the chances of apprehending criminals, Mr. Jordan said. In Mr. McDaniel’s stabbing, the suspect was caught quickly after the crime because an officer was on duty.

“That’s great police work and that’s the kind of thing we want to happen,” said Mr. Jordan. “We started out with one officer [at Addison Road] as well as Prince George’s Police.”

Mr. Jordan encouraged commuters to talk with authorities if they ever feel unsafe. Riders can text concerns to 696873.

“That’s monitored 24 hours a day, and you can have a conversation with a police officer over text,” he said.

Still-grieving family members of victims agreed that Metro isn’t at fault when it comes to crime at the stations. In response to Mr. McDaniel’s stabbing, R. Dominique Washington — the aunt of a Davonte Washington — said crime isn’t something that can always be fixed with more law enforcement.

“Even if police were there they wouldn’t have be able to stop [Davonte’s] killer from pulling the trigger,” Ms. Washington posted on her Facebook page. “Until [people’s] cold hearts change out here it’ll always be crime.”

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