Berkeley police officers responded with guns drawn to a late-night incident at the downtown Berkeley BART station Wednesday, March 11, cordoning off sections of the station for approximately 30 minutes.
At least 14 Berkeley police cars pulled up outside the downtown BART station shortly before 11 p.m. Officers with weapons drawn positioned themselves outside the entrances on either side of Shattuck Avenue and stayed on the scene until 11:15 p.m.
Lt. Gary Cagaanan of the BART police said the train operator reported “some sort of disturbance with a possible gun involved” to the BART control center at 10:51 p.m.
Although Berkeley police showed up at the scene, BART police investigated the incident, he said.
According to a report by BART police, three men and one woman wearing black clothes “made contact with the victim” in an incident that resulted in blood on the floor of the car.
Lt. Cagaanan described the incident as an attempt to rob the victim of his cellphone.
The victim refused medical treatment. Police were not able to find a weapon at the scene.
Two suspects were detained on the platform but were released after the victim refused to give a statement or identify the suspects.
Two young women, who requested the Planet withhold their names for fear of repercussions, told the Planet what they saw inside the BART train.
The two women said they boarded a Richmond-bound train at the Montgomery Street station in San Francisco. After the train had crossed the bay and passed the Ashby station on the way to the downtown Berkeley station, the man sitting next to them checked his cellphone and said, “Oh, fuck.”
Seconds later, the women said, four men entered the car from the rear of the train and brutally beat the man, drawing blood.
Passengers in the car panicked and ran to the back of the train. When the train arrived at the downtown station, the two women disembarked to find police armed and waiting. The victim and his assailants were still on the train.