Wednesday, July 06, 2011

CA: BART's Surveillance Captured 'Partial View' of Fatal Shooting

"It will be a strong tool in the investigation," said BART police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig, who said he had not seen the footage himself and could not discuss it in detail.

BART, San Francisco police and the San Francisco district attorney are investigating the Sunday night shooting on the platform of the Civic Center Station. The man who was shot has been identified, but his name was not released Tuesday because the San Francisco medical examiner was unable to reach his relatives.

According to the transit agency, two officers responded to a report of a man in a tie-dye T-shirt and military-style fatigue pants with an open bottle of alcohol at 9:34 p.m. Sunday.

Within one minute of arriving, Hartwig said, one of the officers fired after he was "confronted by an aggressive suspect who was holding a bottle and a knife." Hartwig said he did not know whether the officer - who gave a statement to investigators soon after the shooting - reported fearing for his own life or the life of a BART patron.

One of the two officers suffered a minor cut to his arm in the incident, officials said. Three shell casings were recovered from the officer's pistol.

Harry Stern, an attorney representing the two officers, said Tuesday that the man who was shot had first thrown the liquor bottle at the officers. "It's my understanding that he then advanced on them with a knife, which was recovered, and that he looked like he was winding up to throw the knife at them," Stern said.

BART did not identify the two officers, one a six-year veteran of the force and the other a BART officer for a little more than a year. Both have been placed on routine administrative leave.

The incident marked the sixth time a BART officer has shot a person in the 40 years since the agency formed a police force.

The most widely known of those shootings - the killing of unarmed train rider Oscar Grant at an Oakland station on Jan. 1, 2009 - was missed by the agency's surveillance cameras, which were pointed in other directions, but was filmed by passengers.

Hartwig urged anyone who witnessed Sunday's shooting or has information about it to call BART police at 510 464-7040. San Francisco police asked anyone with information to call 415 575-4444.

"The surveillance camera footage "will be a strong tool in the investigation." "

Daniel Hartwig, BART police deputy chief

By Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer, The San Francisco Chronicle (California)