ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — According to court records unsealed Tuesday, an FBI
agent has been charged with attempted murder
in the off-duty shooting
of another man on a Metro subway train in a Maryland
suburb of Washington, D.C.
Eduardo Valdivia, the agent, was scheduled to appear in Montgomery County Circuit Court on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault
, and reckless endangerment on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Chief Deputy Maxwell Uy of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Valdivia, 37, turned himself in to local authorities at a county jail Tuesday morning.
The charges stem from a shooting on a train near Medical Center Station in Bethesda
on December 15, according to a Dec. 18 statement from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The agent fired multiple shots after the man approached him that morning and they exchanged words, according to the statement.
The injured man was in stable condition less than a week after the shooting, according to the statement, which did not go into detail about the nature
of the "verbal exchange" between him and the agent just before the shooting.
Valdivia's lawyer, Robert Bonsib, said in a lengthy statement that his client "has had an impeccable personal and professional background." He joined the FBI in 2011 and was providing "operational guidance and programmatic oversight" of FBI investigations targeting racially motivated and anti-government extremists at the time of the shooting.
On the morning of the shooting, Valdivia was on his way to work
when he was approached by a man who “engaged in threatening and aggressive behavior” at close range, according to Bonsib.
“One does not need to wait to be physically attacked — one does not need to wait until the threat has ‘hands on you — before one is authorized to defend oneself,” Bonsib wrote, “nor does one need to retreat — when retreat is not possible — as was not possible here when Eddie Valdivia was seated at the end of the Metro car” with his back against the wall and “no clear exit path.”
Bonsib also indicated that he intends to use the shooting victim's background in his client's defense, claiming that the shooting was justified. He attached documents showing a lengthy criminal history that he said matched the identity of the shooting victim, including arrests for prior sexual misconduct
— such as exposing himself — as well as unprovoked physical attacks.
The man who was shot is named in the indictment, as is another man who is the victim of the reckless endangerment charge.
A spokeswoman for the FBI's Baltimore field office said in a statement Tuesday that the agency was aware of the charges and is fully cooperating with the investigation.
“This matter will be subject to internal review, as is customary following a shooting incident,” said Joy Jiras, a spokeswoman for the police
In December, the Metro Transit Police Department announced that it had reviewed video footage and obtained statements from Metro employees, passengers, and others.
According to the Washington Post
, a witness
stated in a 911 call released in January that the agent warned the man to back away, but the man ignored the command and prepared to fight him.
“The FBI agent said, ‘Move away. I'm an FBI agent. Back away,'” the 911 caller said, “but the other gentleman didn't, dropped his bag, and approached him to fight him.”
The caller stated that the FBI agent was "attacked" by the other passenger, but provided no further details.
The National Institutes of Health
and the Walter
Reed National Military
Medical Center are both served by the Medical Center station.