On the night of Tuesday, December 20, an MTA worker shot and critically wounded Renaldo Gurrier. The incident occurred at the Union Street R-train station in Brooklyn between Gowanus and Park Slope. According to the NYPost, the MTA worker was in the company of his colleague, waiting for the R train heading south when Gurrier attempted a fist bump with them. Police reports say the MTA workers turned down the first bump due to concern over the COVID-19 virus. The rejection of the camaraderie attempt led to words being exchanged between Gurrier and the MTA worker. Gurrier then threatened to assault the MTA workers, saying he was going to “beat them up.” The verbal exchange continued after they had boarded the train. In an effort to end the confrontation with Gurrier, the MTA colleagues got off the train at the Union Street station. Gurrier followed the workers off the train and tried to get too close to them, resulting in the shooting.
“The armed MTA worker pulled out his firearm while repeatedly giving verbal commands for the male to back up,” NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said. “The male failed to comply and threatened to forcibly remove the firearm from the MTA employee.” The MTA worker allegedly shot Gurrier once in the chest. He was taken to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in critical condition.
The MTA workers were not injured in the shooting. They were both placed on desk duty pending the completion of an investigation, according to MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey. According to Davey, the staffer who was in possession of a firearm is one of 274 armed MTA workers. The armed MTA staffer is a transit revenue collector while his colleague is an electronic revenue maintainer. “The reason [he was armed] is because they are teamed with an employee who is responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and servicing the MetroCard vending machines, which of course included cash in those,” Davey said, referring to why the MTA staffer was armed.
“As I understand it, historically, even back in the 1980s, this was a favorite of some criminals, to come after folks,” Davey said. “So, this has been a longstanding practice to have an armed person with that fare vending machine equipment operator.”
No arrests had been made at the time of writing.