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Passengers board trains during the afternoon rush hour on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the St. Charles Rock Road Metrolink station, the site of a shooting earlier in the day. Photo by Hillary Levin, hlevin@post-dispatch.com

UPDATED at 1:40 p.m. Thursday with identity of victim.

PAGEDALE — A man was shot and killed on a MetroLink train during a dispute at the St. Charles Rock Road train station in Pagedale.

The man was shot just before noon Wednesday, said Metro Transit communications director Patti Beck. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to St. Louis County police.

He was identified Thursday as Omar Martin, 23. Police said he lived in the 1600 block of Castle Park Drive in Normandy.

Metro President and CEO Taulby Roach, six months into the job, said on Wednesday afternoon that he was driving out to the shooting himself.

“We need to be accountable for working on these issues as quickly as we can,” Roach said. “I’m, of course, disappointed. I’d prefer we not even have the incident. But I’d ask that the public judge us on our response.”

Roach said Metro, which has been blasted in recent months after multiple attacks on or near stations, said the organization is now in the midst of a “security renovation.”

Martin was involved in a dispute with another man on the train on Wednesday, St. Louis County Police Sgt. Benjamin Granda said. About 11:50 a.m., after the train stopped at the Rock Road station, the other man pulled a gun and shot Martin.

Roach said both men then ran off the train, which was heading eastbound toward downtown St. Louis. Ridership then was likely elevated, he said, with some on their way to Busch Stadium for a 12:15 p.m. Cardinals baseball game.

“It is terrifying,” Roach said.

A guard at the station called in the shooting, Roach said, and St. Louis County’s MetroLink patrol responded.

Roach said Metro has video both inside and outside of the train. Video outside the train, which is more easily accessible, had already been sent to police by early afternoon.

Authorities asked anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers online or at 1-866-371-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward. St. Louis County Police asked that any passengers on the eastbound, redline MetroLink train between the Lambert Airport Terminal 1 and Rock Road stations from 11:30 a.m. to noon call detectives at 314-615-5400 soon as possible.

Beck said Metro initially closed tracks between three stations from the University of Missouri-St. Louis South to Wellston. Trains resumed service by 1:30 p.m., but did not stop at the Rock Road Station for much of the afternoon. Service returned to normal about 4 p.m.

Concern about security on the MetroLink system has been a continuing, unresolved issue in the St. Louis region. Earlier this month, authorities said they struck a blow for safety when they indicted a dozen men for a string of violent crimes on and around MetroLink.

The charges ranged from robbery and kidnapping to assault and murder.

Roach was at the press conference and said then that he believed the system was “safer today than it was yesterday” because of the indictments.

David Hunn is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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