BART Police Investigating Fatal Stabbing Aboard Warm Springs Train

A BART train bound for Pittsburg-Bay Point rolls into MacArthur Station. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

Updated 8:25 p.m. Tuesday

BART police are investigating a Tuesday afternoon incident in which they say a fight between two men on a train ended with one fatally stabbing the other.

Ed Alvarez, BART's interim police chief, told reporters that the alleged assailant fled a Warm Springs train after it stopped at South Hayward Station. Alvarez said the suspect was arrested nearby by Hayward police officers.

Alvarez said that the two men began fighting shortly after the southbound train left Bay Fair Station. Eventually, one of the men pulled a knife and stabbed the other, Alvarez said. BART police responding to South Hayward found the victim, who was pronounced dead aboard the train.

Neither the victim nor the suspect were identified, though Alvarez said both men appeared to be in their 40s.

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Alvarez said investigators were retrieving video from cameras on the train car where the attack took place. The station was closed after the incident, which BART first reported on Twitter about 1:15 p.m. as "police activity."

As reporters arrived at South Hayward for Alvarez's 4 p.m. media briefing, police officers were seen apparently dusting for fingerprints at the station fare gates.

Tuesday's incident marked the first homicide on BART since a series of three killings in July 2018.

Those deaths, which included an unprovoked knife attack on 18-year-old Nia Wilson of Oakland, unleashed fierce criticism about the rising level of violent crime on the system.

Alvarez sought to calm patrons' concerns Tuesday, calling the latest fatal attack "rare on BART. It's not something we get a lot of."

"I do want to assure our ridership that BART is safe," he added. "We'll continue to reassure them by providing the presence in our system so that they can continue to ride safely."

When a reporter challenged Alvarez' assertion the system is safe, the chief said Tuesday's incident "wasn't a random attack. It was a fight between two individuals who engaged each other."

Later, BART General Manager Robert Powers issued a statement that likewise sought to quell fears that the system has become unsafe.

"We are heartbroken that a person has lost his life due to violence on one of our trains this afternoon," Powers said. "We extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victim."

Powers said that to address rider concerns, the agency would immediately increase the police presence throughout the BART system. That presence will include sworn officers working additional overtime alongside non-sworn community service officers and fare inspectors.

The agency implemented similar steps in the aftermath of the killings in the summer of 2018.