HOUSTON, Texas - It's cell phone video Shawn McDermott felt he had to take. In it, it shows two men scuffling onboard a METRORail car. Just moments before, an agitator was accosting an elderly woman.
"She said, 'Hey, don't be doing this to me. Don't disrespect me.' And he started getting really violent. So I said, 'ok, I have to film this and I have to try to diffuse the situation,'" McDermott explained.
A man jumped to the woman's aid and shoved the suspect to get him to stop. A fight broke out, and McDermott is heard telling the bad apple and his friend they need to get off the rail.
He says his biggest frustration was a lack of response by law enforcement.
"During the whole time, the train never stopped, even though we pressed the panic button," McDermott recalled.
We took McDermott's concerns to METRO Police. Turns out, there are no panic buttons in the rail cars, and the red object McDermott was pressing was most likely to open the doors.
Chief Vera Bumpers says in an event something bizarre like that happens, riders should use the MPD Connect app or call their 24-hour dispatch.
"We would have preferred if we would have been contacted, because we have officers who monitor platforms and we could have intercepted that train and taken care of it," Bumpers said.
METRO Police are authorized to have 191 officers. They are close to that number but still need more.
"It is something that we're just not going to ignore. We'll make sure we have increased visibility in that area," Bumpers continued, referring to the fight.
McDermott says he plans to keep riding but has his guard up.
"There was one time where the train actually did stop and the police came but most of the time it's a lawless situation," McDermott said.
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