This post includes a clarification.
Update, Friday, Jan. 15: The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau has identified the victim in last Saturday’s BART shooting as 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero of Antioch.
An unidentified suspect who is still at large shot Funez-Romero on a San Francisco-bound train at BART’s West Oakland Station.
Coroner’s officials had said earlier this week that they were having trouble identifying the shooting victim, who carried no ID and whose fingerprints weren’t found in available databases.
Update, Thursday, Jan. 14: BART has released surveillance images of the suspect in last Saturday night’s fatal shooting aboard a train at West Oakland Station. In a press conference Wednesday, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey asked for the public’s help in finding the suspected shooter, who reportedly opened fire with a pistol on a fellow passenger, then exited the San Francisco-bound train and fled the station.
BART police also said that they are having difficulty identifying the man killed in the incident. The victim carried no ID, and Alameda County coroners’ officials have said so far they have not found a database for his fingerprints. The victim is described as likely between the ages of 19 and 25, possibly Latino, with black hair.
Rainey said Wednesday it’s still unknown if the suspect and victim knew each other. At least one witness reported the victim, who was seated, was holding a knife when he was shot. Rainey confirmed a knife was recovered at the scene.
Original post (Sunday, Jan. 10): BART police detectives are reviewing surveillance video footage from inside a train car for clues to the identity of a gunman who shot and killed a fellow passenger Saturday night.
The incident, which occurred near BART’s West Oakland Station, is the most violent passenger-on-passenger incident on Bay Area transit systems since the shooting last April of Tommy Clayton, 19, on a Muni T-Sunnydale train in San Francisco’s Bayview district.
The BART shooting took place on a San Francisco-bound train around 7:45 p.m. The gunman is believed to have fired several shots, according to BART police Lt. Aaron Ledford.
“A victim had been shot, the suspect had fled the area, ran out of the train, out of the station, and into the city of Oakland,” Ledford said in an interview Sunday. “Officers got to the scene along with medical aid, medical was rendered, CPR and first aid was rendered to the victim, but medical ended up pronouncing him deceased.”
The suspect was described as an African-American man, 6 feet 3 inches tall, slim build, with a bald head, wearing a green hoodie-type jacket and carrying a backpack. Some reports added that he was wearing tan military style boots.
Detectives have yet to determine a motive for the shooting.
After the incident, BART notified Oakland police, and officers from both departments looked for the shooter near the station. They detained a man they believed matched the suspect’s description but determined he was not involved in the crime and released him, Ledford said.
In fact, several media organizations published photographs of that man being surrounded by police with his hands up.
— Matthias Gafni (@mgafni) January 10, 2016
Shortly after the shooting, BART shut down West Oakland Station and for several hours trains did not stop there. Riders who parked at West Oakland on Saturday before the shooting had to take AC transit buses to the station from the MacArthur and Lake Merritt stops to pick up their cars.
The station reopened late Saturday night and it was open again Sunday morning as usual, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.
BART investigators have pulled video from surveillance cameras in the train car where the shooting took place and from West Oakland Station, Ledford said, adding that police interviewed many witnesses who were on the train.
The shooting renews questions about the challenges of maintaining security on public transit, where passengers are essentially free to carry whatever they want, included loaded firearms, aboard trains, buses and ferries. Muni has been the scene of two such incidents in recent years, including last April’s Tommy Clayton shooting. In September 2013, a San Francisco State student named Justin Valdez was killed in an apparently random shooting by a fellow passenger on a light-rail vehicle.
BART’s Allison says the agency has tried to prepare for trouble on its trains.
“Since 9/11 all BART frontline employees have received extensive training on how to react to emergencies,” Allison said in an email. “BART police have increased patrols inside stations.”
There have been many other steps taken to keep BART safe that aren’t public, Allison said, including new alarms and increased video surveillance. BART is working with other agencies on security drills and new detection devices for various chemical or biological agents, Allison said.
He emphasized, though, that it’s not possible to check every person who enters the system. “Imagine having to show up at a station an hour before your train,” Allison said.
“Because it’s not practical for BART to check every passenger and bag entering the system, it is vital that we rely on our passengers to be our ‘eyes and ears.’ ”
The agency encourages riders to report “unusual activity” through its BARTWatch app, by calling the agency’s Police Department (510-464-7000) or by speaking directly to BART staff.
An autopsy is expected to be performed on the unidentified victim on Monday, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.
Clarification: As originally published, this post paraphrased a statement from BART police about the nature of the fatal shooting Jan. 9, 2016. We said: “The BART shooting, which authorities do not believe was random, took place on a San Francisco-bound train around 7:45 p.m.” That statement, which implies the victim may have been targeted, was based on the following quote from BART police Lt. Aaron Ledford, who said, referring to investigators on the case, “They are not classifying it [the shooting] as random.”
During a press conference called to discuss the case Wednesday, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said, “I don’t believe any BART police personnel have made any statements to the effect of this was a targeted attack.” When asked whether the shooting was random or targeted, Rainey added, “We’re trying to figure out what is the relationship between the suspect and victim.”