OAKLAND — In a shooting inside a packed BART train that had some passengers believing the train had been taken over by terrorists, a man was killed Saturday night by another man who soon fled the train after it stopped at the West Oakland station.
Shortly before 8 p.m., BART police responded to a call of shots being fired on a train and found the dead man inside a train car, BART police Lt. Kevin Franklin said. The station was immediately closed and wasn’t expected to reopen until Sunday morning.
Witnesses told police that the assailant — whom police described as a black male about 6-foot-3-inches tall with a slim build, bald head and wearing a green hooded jacket, jeans, red-and-white boxers and tan military boots — fled on foot outside the station, Franklin said.
Brad Chapin, a 25-year-old psychology student from San Francisco, told this newspaper he got on the train at the Ashby station and was headed to the city to meet some friends.
He said he was wearing ear buds and watching a video of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talking about gun violence and President Obama’s recent executive actions tightening firearms background checks.
“Everyone just got down on the ground. People were screaming. It was chaos,” Chapin said. “We didn’t know if there were terrorists there or what.”
Half of the people ran out of the train car and the other half got down on the ground, Chapin said.
“So many people thought they were going to die,” he said. “It was terrifying.”
Chapin said he took his laptop out of its case to possibly use as a weapon. Eventually, though, he found the courage to go into the car where the man was shot.
“I wanted to be there in case someone was really shaken up,” said Chapin, thinking his psychology training could help.
He said the victim was a younger man and that a man sitting next to the victim administered CPR for about 10 minutes straight.
Chapin said he later befriended a young woman on the station platform who was in the car where the shooting occurred.
“All she could think of was Paris — and she just ran” out of the train car, Chapin said, referring to the Nov. 13 shootings by ISIS supporters that killed 130 people.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said the shooting happened while the six-car, San Francisco-bound train on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line was either approaching the station or stopped at the station.
He confirmed late Saturday night that one person had been detained by police just outside the station, but that the assailant was still at large.
Witnesses told ABC7 that they had noticed a disheveled-looking man get on the train at either Rockridge or MacArthur station. As the train approached the West Oakland station, just before the doors opened, the man pulled a gun and shot a passenger who was seated next to the door, according to the witness accounts reported by ABC7. One witness told the TV station that the victim had a knife in his hands.
Three of the train cars were to be taken to a maintenance yard as part of the police investigation, Allison said.
BART police asked any witnesses to call them at 510-464-7000 or 510-464-7040.