Passenger fatally shot on Amtrak train, search for suspect underway

An assailant in the shooting death of a passenger on an Amtrak train in Missouri remained at large on Sunday as investigators seek to determine why the train traveled miles before passengers or crew reported it , authorities said.

The victim found dead aboard Amtrak’s River Runner has been identified as Richie T. Aaron Jr., 30, of Independence, Missouri, according to the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Police Department.

Police believe the killer exited the train undetected while being arrested at Lee’s Summit, authorities said in a statement on Saturday.

The train with 81 passengers on board left the Lee’s Summit depot and continued for about 20 miles to its next stop in Independence, where police were called around 9:15 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

PHOTO: An Amtrak train parks at a stop at Union Station, Dec. 9, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images, FILE)

Paramedics attempted to save lives, but Aaron was pronounced dead on the train, police said.

“Initial investigation revealed that the train car where the shooting occurred did not have a large number of passengers, and passengers who heard the shots did not immediately recognize that a person had been shot. “Lee’s Summit Police said in the statement.

However, passenger Chris Shaw, who was traveling with his young son, told ABC affiliate station KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri, that he heard a gunshot. He said he immediately told Amtrak crew members he saw the shooter get off the train at Lee’s Summit and asked them to call the police.

Shaw said after hearing the shot he turned his back on the shooter and pushed his son into the toilet and out of harm’s way. He said he couldn’t understand why the police weren’t immediately called and the train wasn’t stopped as soon as it pulled out of Lee’s Summit.

“If you’re on a plane, train, school or anywhere, and you hear gunshots, you call the police, you pull over,” Shaw said. “You don’t wait 40 minutes while there’s a dead guy lying on a seat.”

MORE: Amtrak train shooting that left 1 officer and 1 suspect dead from marijuana bust, complaint says

Investigators interviewed passengers “to develop a suspect in the case”, police said.

Amtrak officials said in a statement they were cooperating with the investigation. The rail line said the train was heading from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri when the fatal shooting unfolded.

MORE: 3 dead, more than 50 injured in Amtrak train derailment

“There were no injuries among the 81 other passengers and Amtrak crew, and they were all provided with alternate transportation to their final destination,” Amtrak said in its statement.

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