The Wheaton Station platform, a stop on the D.C. Metrorail's Red Line. Credit: Creative Commons

This article was updated at 4:22 p.m. to include input from Wheaton resident Stephan Allotey-Addo.

Montgomery County Police have released the name of the victim in a fatal shooting that occurred inside the Wheaton Metro station on Thursday evening.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to the Metro station for reports of a shooting and located Greenbelt resident Tenneson Vaughn Leslie Jr., 18, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

A police investigation revealed that Leslie was traveling with a group when an altercation ensued between them while riding the station escalator. According to police, the dispute escalated and Leslie was shot on the train platform.

The two assailants ran from the scene, police said. Montgomery County and Metro Transit police continue to search the surrounding areas, but no suspects have yet been located.

County Councilmember Natali Fani-González (D-Dist. 6), whose district includes the Wheaton area, wrote to MoCo360 to express her distress at hearing of the incident.


“I’m horrified at this senseless act of violence in my community,” she wrote. “While this will not bring back the young man, I’m confident our police will bring the murderer to justice. My heart goes out to the family and friends.”

The escalator where the incident began is the longest single-span escalator in the northern hemisphere, according to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). It takes just under three minutes to travel from top to bottom.

Metrorail ridership at that station has increased 20% since March 2022, according to WMATA. In total, approximately 315,000 people riders used the D.C. Metrorail in March 2023, according to tap entry data.


MoCo360 made unsuccessful attempts to reach Prince George’s County Public Schools for comment Friday.

Wheaton residents expressed fear earlier this year following a spate of carjackings and shootings near the Westfield Mall, with some criticizing officials for a perceived lack of clear communication during active shooter situations.

One resident told MoCo360 in March that during an attempted carjacking outside the Westfield Mall Costco, pandemonium ensued as residents across the parking lot tried to process what was happening and how to react. A man was later apprehended by police in connection with that carjacking and a spree of others across Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.


Margaret Rifkin has lived near the Wheaton metro station for more than 20 years and on Friday said she’s increasingly concerned about gun violence in her neighborhood.

“Beyond the tragedy of the violence, we really need to have safe, walkable centers where people can live happily, comfortably and use public transportation without fear,” she said.

Rifkin added that she would be “glad to give up my right to carry a gun” if it meant knowing she wouldn’t encounter other guns in her neighborhood or on the public transportation system.


“It’s hard for me to comment without looking at the broader picture, because it’s such a complex social issue—but I’m very alert when I’m at the Wheaton Metro,” she said.

Stephan Allotey-Addo, 33, lives on the 15th floor of an apartment complex in downtown Wheaton where the view from his windows overlooks the metro station and mall. He said he saw a flurry of police activity near the metro Thursday night but that his complex, Arrive Wheaton, has not yet alerted residents that a shooting occurred there.

“I’m just shocked that there was a shooting and I knew nothing of it until now,” he said. “It seems like a lot of things happen in this neighborhood, and people either don’t talk about it, skirt around it or are just used to it.”


Allotey-Addo said he would like to see increased communication from officials and property management personnel regarding crime in the area, and also hopes there will be increased police presence to help curb community concerns.

“I’m not so sure Wheaton is necessarily a safe place right now,” he said. “I will definitely be more cautious about being out past 10 o’clock. You never know what could happen.”

Police are offering a reward up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for Leslie’s death. They encourage anyone with information regarding the incident to contact detectives at 1-866-455-8477. Callers can remain anonymous, police said.