Suspect arrested after attacking passengers with meat cleaver on BART train

The suspect had a criminal record and was on probation at the time of the attack.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
A man was arrested Wednesday after threatening passengers on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train with a meat cleaver and allegedly slashing one man in the back before stealing his pack.

Charles Johnson, 24, was apprehended by police when the train arrived at the next station and has since been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. Johnson had a criminal record and was on probation at the time of the attack. As a result, he was also charged with violating his probation.

According to BART Interim Chief of Police Kevin Franklin, the incident took place around 1 pm on an Antioch-bound Yellow line train. Johnson allegedly threatened other passengers, causing them to get up and run away. He chased after them and slashed a 25-year-old man on the back before stealing his pack and trying to make a run for it at the next station, West Oakland.

Johnson "attempted to flee with the victim's backpack after exiting the train at West Oakland but officers apprehended him without incident," Franklin said, noting that the pack was recovered, as was the "cleaver-style knife" Johnson used.

Johnson was booked at Santa Rita jail, while the victim was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In an interview with Mission Local, journalist and witness James Temple explained that passengers were terrified as a balaclava-clad Johnson made his way through the cars toward the front of the train. He said that as Johnson approached, people were telling the train operator to drive faster to get to the next station, which was all the way across the bay in Oakland.

Temple commended the actions of BART Police officers, who were able to apprehend Johnson "in minutes," and get service up and running again.

Amid an uptick in crime on the system, the BART Police Department is "making the most of its resources to maximize its visible presence in the system." In March, it "more than doubled the presence of sworn officers on trains."


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