CRIME

Man Allegedly Shoots Himself During Scuffle With Transit Cops

They had told him to stop smoking in the BART station.

A 28-year-old man was in critical condition after he allegedly shot himself in the belly during a struggle with transit police in Oakland, California, on Tuesday. 

The dispute started when two Bay Area Rapid Transit cops told Corey Powell to stop smoking on the platform of the West Oakland BART station around 8 p.m., according to authorities. Smoking is prohibited inside the stations and is a ticketable offense. 

The altercation escalated when Powell allegedly gave police a bogus name and "began acting erratically," according to a BART statement. Powell subsequently refused to let officers arrest him and instead reached toward his waistband, according to BART. Officers used a stun gun on Powell, who mistakenly shot himself in the abdomen when he grabbed his own firearm, police said.

"Any shooting is a tragedy, and we regret the incident having occurred," BART said in its statement. 

A passenger waiting for a train on the opposite platform posted a brief video of the aftermath. In the video, one of the officers leans over Powell, who is slumped on the walkway. The witness also claimed that he heard Powell yell that officers had shot him. 

The station was closed for hours while police investigated. Initially the transit agency downplayed the closure by saying it was caused by an "unstable" patron, KQED reported. Police found what they said are Powell's gun and the spent bullet casing. 

Body camera footage from the officers will be reviewed as part of separate investigations by the Alameda County district attorney and the BART police department. 

Powell was on probation for burglary and armed robbery, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

CONVERSATIONS