Metro attack victim thanks hero who stepped in to help

Metro attack victim thanks hero who stepped in to help (ABC7)

A George Washington University Law School student who intervened to help a man being attacked at a Metro station reunited with the victim Wednesday and then both spoke to the media.

Andrew Miller, 23, suffered injuries himself after stepping in to help Fairfax County resident John Rowley.

The attack happened during rush hour last Friday night on the platform of the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station.

Rowley says he had just gotten off a Red Line train when a group of male teens attacked him for no apparent reason.

They punched him, kicked him and threw him towards the now-moving train. Rowley’s hand slammed into the train.

Despite the fact there were a lot of people nearby, at first no one intervened to help.

“Nobody stopped,” Rowley said. “Nobody except one person stopped, and that’s this guy right here.”

Rowley said that while sitting next to Andrew Miller at a press conference arranged by GWU Law School.

Miller is entering his final year at the school.

“If you don’t do something, the consequences are far greater than if you do and get hurt,” Miller said of his decision to intervene, which he said he didn’t have much time to think about.

He says he can’t remember if he yelled something or just squared his body towards the most violent of the attackers, but he was quickly noticed.

“That’s when the individual thankfully turned their attention from Mr. Rowley over to me. They stepped over him, came at me,” Miller said.

Miller said he partially blocked one punch, then another one landed near his ear, knocking him down.

Although he suffered a concussion, it was soon after he intervened that the attackers ran away.

“He took some of the punches that were intended for me,” said Rowley, who credits Miller with preventing his injuries from being far worse.

“You know, the word hero is thrown around casually – sports heroes, all sorts of heroes – this guy is a hero.”

Rowley said the police were surprised no one else in the large crowd stopped to help.

“When there’s a crowd of people watching someone get hurt, that’s a shame,” Miller said. “The crowd could have done something about it and should have. And I hope next time the crowd does something about it. I hope that more people step forward and fight on behalf of people who need it.”

Metro Transit Police arrested two juveniles. Although Rowley and Miller say a group of around six or so was involved in the attack, Metro says video showed only two of the group actually committing the crime.

“There needs to be a higher police presence to protect people that are simply trying to ride the Metro,” Rowley said. “’This should never happen anywhere. It certainly shouldn’t happen in Washington, D.C.”

But Rowley says there’s one silver lining to what happened – the formal federal prosecutor got to meet Miller.

“He’s a cut above,” Rowley said. “And he did what other people were not necessarily willing to do.”

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