A San Francisco man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with Saturday’s stabbing at the Oakland Coliseum BART station, a transit agency spokeswoman said.
Robert Dolth, 32, was arrested and booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. The spokeswoman said Dolth allegedly admitted his involvement in the crime during an interview with investigators.
The stabbing happened around 2:52 p.m. Saturday, and the BART station and Oakland airport connector were closed for two hours as police investigated the crime.
The victims of the stabbing are a woman in her sixties and her brother, who is in his fifties, according to Trost. The woman is in fair condition in the hospital and her brother is in critical, but stable, condition, Trost said.
The brother and sister got on a train at a San Francisco station on Saturday, Trost said. They didn’t know the suspect, who got on at the Civic Center station and was acting erratically, with verbal outbursts, according to Trost.
When the two siblings got off at the Coliseum station, Dolth allegedly followed them. As they approached the fare gates, Trost said, the suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed them in an attack that appears to have been unprovoked.
The station agent called police, Trost said.
A good Samaritan came to the rescue, wrestling the knife from the suspect and holding him until law enforcement officers appeared two minutes later, according to Trost.
A second good Samaritan helped hold the suspect down as he was handcuffed, Trost said. The knife was recovered at the scene.
Trust said in a statement:
“The swift response by the station agent and police as well as the intervention by the good Samaritans were all critical to ending the attack and apprehending the suspect.
In 2017, six BART passengers who were beaten, threatened or robbed by mobs of young people in three separate incidents in March and April of that year filed a lawsuit against the transit agency, accusing it of failing to protect its passengers.
Attorney Paul Justi, who represents the six plaintiffs, said the crimes, including one by a mob of between 40 to 60 youths at Oakland’s Coliseum station on April 22, were “predictable and preventable” because they were similar and alleged that BART isn’t doing enough to make its passengers safe.
BART’s attorney, Dale Allen, said, “There’s no legal precedent for this lawsuit to go forward” because the state Legislature has created immunity for all law enforcement agencies since “it’s impossible to stop all crimes.”
“BART directors have expressed their regret that these tragedies have happened to these passengers. BART police monitor 46 stations over 100 miles of tracks and 400,000 passengers and try to stop as much crime as they can with the staffing they have.”
Since then, BART has taken a number of actions to beef up enforcement at its stations.
Among other things, security cameras have been installed in all BART train cars at a cost of $1.42 million, with the money coming from the transit agency’s operating budget, according to BART officials.
In a push to increase police presence on the system, BART officials said in November 2017 that the agency is hiring 40 new police officers.