BART officers shoot man at Civic Center station

July 4, 2011 5:33:10 PM PDT
There is new information about an incident Sunday night in which BART officers shot and killed a man at the Civic Center station in San Francisco.

Just one minute after arriving at the Civic Center station, officers fired their shots at the suspect. One of the officers has six years on the force, the other has 18 months on the job. BART's police chief is defending their actions, saying that the BART police force is not overly aggressive.

Just hours after the incident, BART's top brass mounted a quick defense.

"The suspect, was in fact, had a bottle which was used as a weapon and he was also armed with a knife," said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey.

Two officers responded to a call of a wobbly drunk on the platform around 9:45 p.m. ABC7 has learned at least three shots were fired just one minute after the officers arrived on scene.

"Within a minute they reported to dispatch shots fired," said BART Police Lt. Dan Hartwig. "The suspect was down, the officers were not determined to be injured at the time."

Police now say one of the officers received a minor cut on his arm. They won't say if that is the officer who fired the fatal shot.

One of those officers was also armed with a Taser. The chief could not say why he did not use it.

"At this point I can't answer that question, but the Taser is a tool," said Rainey.

The suspect died at the hospital. Authorities still don't know his identity.

As many as three people on the platform witnessed what happened, and like the agency's last high-profile officer-involved shooting, this one was caught on surveillance camera. But this time around, BART says a lot has changed since former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed unarmed passenger Oscar Grant.

"This time we're out in front of this, and if we don't know the answer or we can't release the answer, we'll tell why we're not releasing information," said BART Board President Bob Franklin.

"The guy's armed with a knife, the guy used a bottle as a weapon, [and] one of our officers is injured," said Rainey. "Our officers used their force which they felt was necessary in defense of their lives."

BART is not releasing the identity of the two officers who were on the platform and involved in the shooting, but they did volunteer their race ? white and Asian. The victim was a white man.

The investigation is still ongoing. Both officers, as is standard in officer-involved shootings, are on paid administrative leave. San Francisco Police and an independent BART auditor are also investigating.


Load Comments