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BART, Oakland police fatally shoot man near rail station

July 17, 2010 |  8:19 pm

Bay Area Rapid Transit and Oakland police officers fatally shot a man armed with a knife near the Fruitvale BART station Saturday morning, authorities said.

The shooting comes about a week after a Los Angeles jury convicted former BART officer Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in connection with fatally shooting an unarmed black man, Oscar J. Grant III, on the Fruitvale train station platform on New Year's Day last year.

That shooting sparked days of looting and protests in Oakland, as well as more demonstrations and looting after the July 8 verdict.

No civil unrest was reported after the Saturday shooting, police said.

About 8:15 a.m., Oakland police received a call that an armed man was walking toward the Fruitvale BART station, according to a statement released by Jeff Thomason, a department spokesman. Police notified BART officers, who reached the suspect first and reported that he said, “Shoot me, shoot me,” Thomason said.

BART police chased him from the station to the street, where Oakland police joined in the pursuit over four blocks.

The man, who Thomason said appeared to be Latino and in his 30s, was armed with two knives, and Oakland police tried to Taser him twice, both times unsuccessfully. Then he charged one of the officers and the group opened fire, killing him, according to the statement.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and as of late Saturday had not been identified, authorities said.

Oakland Homicide Investigators, the Alameda County district attorney’s office, Oakland Police Department Internal Affairs and BART Internal Affairs responded to conduct the administrative investigation. The Oakland Police Department is leading the investigation.

Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums released a statement urging the public to remain calm.

“Any time there is a loss of life, it is a matter of great concern and sadness for us all. It is extremely important that we as a community continue to work together in order to provide a safe and secure environment,” Dellums said, assuring the public that “a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding this death has begun.”

BART Board of Directors Vice President Bob Franklin and board member Carole Ward Allen issued a joint statement in response to the shooting.

“The loss of life under any circumstance is truly an unfortunate and regrettable event,” the statement said, emphasizing that the department “is cooperating fully with the Oakland Police Department.”

“We have immediately launched a separate but parallel administrative investigation as well to ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated in a transparent manner,” the statement said.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske