HAYWARD, Calif. — A man died after being stabbed with his own knife on a California commuter train while trying to stop the attacker from stealing the shoes of a sleeping passenger, authorities said Wednesday.
During the confrontation Tuesday in the San Francisco Bay Area, the victim pulled a knife that was wrestled away by the attacker and used to stab him several times, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said in a statement.
Officers boarded the train and found Oliver Williams, 49, of Oakland bleeding. He died at the scene.
Jermaine Jeremiah Brim, 39, of Sacramento was arrested near the Hayward station after he tried to steal a van at a car dealership, authorities said. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Brim had walked away from an area hospital and was listed as a missing person at risk when he wandered into the train system with no shoes on.
It was unclear if Brim has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
“Short of having an officer on that train car, this would’ve been hard to prevent,” BART interim Police Chief Ed Alvarez said. “Both individuals took it upon themselves to start a fight. … It’s something that unfortunately, it happened and that one man lost his life as a result of it.”
As a safety precaution, the agency said it will increase the presence of police officers on trains and at station platforms.
“We are heartbroken that a person has lost his life due to violence on one of our trains,” Robert Powers, the agency’s general manager, said in a statement.
The stabbing follows the death of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, who was stabbed last year in an unprovoked attack on her and her sister in an Oakland BART station.
John Cowell, a 27-year-old parolee, was found competent to stand trial but his case is in legal limbo. A judge in October agreed to seal a motion by Cowell’s attorney to dismiss the case.
The family of Wilson claims BART failed in its duty to ensure its customers are safe.