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Cleaver Attack Rocks San Francisco’s Troubled Subway System

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The incident happened while the BART train was running through the Transbay Tube that connects Oakland and San Francisco.

Kehn Hermano/Pexels.comSan Francisco. Kehn Hermano/Pexels.com

A violent attack on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system is the latest high profile crime to rock San Francisco. The attacker, Charles Johnson, was arrested Wednesday after allegedly slashing an area man with a meat cleaver.

The incident happened while the BART train was running through the Transbay Tube that connects Oakland and San Francisco. Johnson reportedly attempted to steal the victim’s backpack before attacking him with the cleaver, in a scene redolent of the film within a flim in “The Sopranos.”

Johnson, who was on probation when the incident occurred, was booked at Santa Rita jail and is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, and violation of probation.

A journalist who witnessed the event, James Temple, told Mission Local that the victim was taken away on a gurney but appeared to be in high spirits. The victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

“Everyone started running through the cars, trying to get as much distance between themselves and this guy as possible,” Mr. Temple said, adding that people were “trying to get as close to the edges of the BART cars as possible.”

According to police, BART Police responded within minutes after the train operator saw the assailant leaving the train via security camera footage.

“The BART Police Department is making the most of its resources to maximize its visible presence in the system,” Bay Area Rapid Transit said in a statement. “The BART Police Department is making the most of its resources to maximize its visible presence in the system.”

According to Bay Area Rapid Transit, 18 additional officers have been assigned to patrol trains in the network’s cores service house per shift.

“I’m not gonna lie, man, it was pretty scary,” Mr. Temple said. “When you actually see someone walking up and down BART with a cleaver — it was scary, and I and everyone just wanted to get as far away from him as possible, which is hard to do on a BART in the middle of the tunnel.”

The cleaver attack is only the latest in a string of high-profile incidents that are part of San Francisco’s growing crime problem. In the past year, chains including Target, CVS, Whole Foods, and Walgreens have closed locations in the city due to rampant theft.

According to San Francisco police, homicide rates have increased by 27 percent compared to last year and robbery has increased by 13 percent. Larceny has decreased modestly, by 10 percent, though there have still been more than 10,000 larcenies in the city year to date.

In one high-profile crime, a tech executive, Bob Lee, was fatally stabbed in downtown San Francisco last month. After his death led to fresh uproar over random crimes, police arrested a tech entrepreneur who was a known acquaintance of the victim.


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