BART Handgun Scare Was Off-Duty Officer

Trains delayed Tuesday morning with report of man with a gun in his waistband.

Bay City News Service

Three BART trains were delayed Tuesday morning after a handgun sighting on a platform at the Pleasant Hill BART station caused a stir among morning commuters, police said.

BART police responded around 8 a.m. to a train operator's report of a man with a gun in his waistband at the station. Officers arrived on the platform with their guns drawn, giving some morning commuters a scare and causing three trains to be held as police investigated. After speaking with the man with the concealed gun, police learned that he was an off-duty police officer, BART police Lt. Aaron Ledford said.

"Once we determined that he was off-duty law enforcement, we released the trains," he said. The incident caused delays of up to 20 minutes, he said. Although it turned out there was no hazard to the public, Ledford credited the train operator who reported the weapon for his quick reaction in a potentially dangerous situation.

Claire Voyance March 03, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Dumb Pigs, Thanks for the delay!
Chris Kapsalis March 04, 2012 at 03:34 AM
What does he think this is Miami vice? Carrying a loaded gun in your waistband is unsafe. This man needs his weapon taken away until he is retrained on how to safely carry a gun. I assume if you are an officer, you are trained on how to properly carry a gun. In your waste band? Is that safe? No. It could fall out and go off hitting someone, be taken from you, you could shoot yourself even, cause panic, I would think it should be properly secured under a coat or in a holster and with proper id identifying yourself as an officer. He is lucky he wasn't shot and killed by other officers or innocent people were not hit in the cross fire. I learned how to carry a gun when I was 5. Never point a gun, loaded, unloaded, even a toy, at anyone unless you are prepared to shoot. Also always assume a gun is loaded, no matter how sure you are it is not. And so on. I see even some law enforcement officers and people you would think would know better break these basic rules all the time. Everyday on the news we hear about how by not following these basic important rules a tragedy happens. But please Claire? "Pigs"? The majority of police are good people sworn to protect and serve, and would give their life to save your life. That is a very disrespectful and insulting term.
cameron mccord March 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Well said, Chris. Inflammatory name-calling degrades a thoughtful discussion and does not contribute to a solution.
Kevin Keeler March 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM
This article is pretty light on detail. I can speak to this with a good deal of experience, even though I never worked for Miami PD. Carrying an upholstered concealed weapon in your waist band is a bad idea (for the reasons cited in the comments.) If the officer violated his/her department policy regarding how the weapon was being carried, I can say with a high degree of certainty that he/she will be disciplined in the proper manner. However, where does it say in the article that the officer did not have the weapon in a holster? Most holsters are worn on the waist attached or clipped to a belt etc. Certain holsters are designed to be worn inside the waist band and are not visible. One could easily say in simple terms, “He wore the weapon in his waist band” and unintentionally exclude the possibility of a holster for the sake of brevity. I don’t see in the article where it says the officer was not using a holster as suggested in the comments.
Kevin Keeler March 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Also, it clearly states in the article that the weapon was “concealed.” So I don’t understand the criticism dealing with wearing a cover i.e. a coat. Fact is, anytime one wears a concealed firearm, it’s likely to be visible if one is looking for such a thing. Or, sometimes ones clothing rides up, catches on other articles, and so forth providing an unintended glimpse of the piece. I’m also confused as to the pointing aspect. Did the officer draw the weapon and point it at someone? I didn’t read that in the article. This comment seems a little non sequitur and, in my opinion, inflammatory. As a rider who uses BART to get to work on time, I can sympathize with the delay. BART delays are caused by many things. I can also tell you some doozies about the ne’re-do-wells and miscreants I have encountered on BART. It’s pretty scary. The world is an imperfect place and it’s never going to be. This is not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. We need to keep it in perspective. Again, the article is pretty light on detail.
Chris Kapsalis March 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Kevin, I am the one in comments who said, talking about gun safety, "Never point a gun at anyone.... and "Always a ssume a gun is loaded no matter what.... But the way I read that, I know there are concelled holsters, that it was just stuck in his waiste band. Also what if two off duty cops saw eachother and did not know eachother and opened fire on eachother>? Does happen. Sorry If I assumed too much. But obviously if you see a concelled hand gun in a waiste band and it is a plain clothes, you may panic.
Kevin Keeler March 06, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Yes Chris. It does say the gun was in his waist band. But, it does not say if it was unholstered (and most holsters are secured to or in the waist band.) I don’t know if it was or was not. Neither can the reader discern that from the way the article is written. As I said, “One could easily say in simple terms, ‘He wore the weapon in his waist band’ and unintentionally exclude the possibility of a holster for the sake of brevity.” We all tend to speak in the simplest terms and the news is often promulgated is such fashion. Therefore, one cannot say with certainty he was carrying it in an unsafe manner; and, this was the premise of your comment. You might be right, but it would be speculative to say so.
Kevin Keeler March 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM
With regard to the two off duty cops scenario you brought up. Many things are possible; the more incisive statement might be, how probable? If an off duty cop saw a person he/she thought was carrying illegally, it would be tactically unsound to approach and investigate. One would be without cover, without proper equipment and without communications. A man with a gun encounter is considered a high risk engagement requiring a special approach involving more than one officer using different tactics. In off duty situations, officers are taught to call in the suspected crime(s), monitor and stand by for cover (be a good witness as the saying goes.) Uniformed officers are always desirable (though not required) for first contact. The only exception to that would be were a life was in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury. An officer may then intervene at his/her discretion in that type of situation (though not required.) This is knowledge common to all. Ask any cop.
Kevin Keeler March 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Yes. Accidental police on police shooting do occur in rare instances. But, they are not as common as you seem to assert. I’ve seen more in the movies than I have heard of in my years in law enforcement. Most of the kind I have known concerned undercover or friendly fire situations. I can’t imagine a situation where one would simply “open fire” just because you were contacting a person carrying a gun. Contacts always require identification and a statement of purpose. In that initial exchange, it’s unlikely two cops would just open fire on each other. There’re not robots. They can reason. I don’t agree with the idea of a panicked response, either on the part of an officer (or any person for that matter) when encountering the sight of a person carrying a concealed weapon or ANY potentially dangerous situation. I think we are all capable of much more than that. I suppose one could panic; although, I don’t know why; it’s too much of a hindrance to thought. Perhaps, the panic you speak of might be some kind of involuntary response. I don’t deny that it’s possible for all of us. That said, I can testify that officers are trained not to panic, to control their emotions, to evaluate, to calculate, observe, and synthesize all the information at hand to form a reasonable and justified response within the law. And, I think we all have some level of faith that our officers would not panic in the face of potentially dangerous situations.
Kevin Keeler March 06, 2012 at 10:42 PM
The assumptions you make are common and I find no fault in them per se. On the other hand, I think it’s important to vet these things a bit, break them open so to speak; in this way, we see them in the context of greater dimensions. It’s all good discourse and we all learn from it.
Chris Kapsalis March 06, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I was talking about panic from the public, not officers,although officers also have to react fast sometimes and make snap judgements to possible save lives. I do not watch tv and also friendly fire deaths, as I said, are way too common and can be avoided with more communication sometimes and also being a little more careful. I do read the news. Off duty cops are shot by other officers sometimes, meaning I read about an incident at least once a month happening somewhere in the US. And not all police forces or officers are created equal, but over all, as in the military, we have some great highly trained people, esp in Martinez I have observed. We have a great force ( never perfect) and I do know some things cannot be avoided. Many, at least in the past, I read, police deaths by guns happened by them losing control of their own gun when wrestling a suspect. This is better now. I do know about under waist hostlers. And again,the way I read it, it was in his waist band and able to be seen by Bart riders. That is "not a concealed weapon once seen."
Chris Kapsalis March 06, 2012 at 11:17 PM
part 2. I see cops with guns all the time in Martinez, the seat of the county. I can generally tell who is a cop and who is not. Seems even police themselves could not discern this man from a cop or a guy on a Bart train ready to shoot people. Could have been tragic. I think Mistakes happened no matter how you cut it, assuming there is not more to the story. I grew up in a time and place lots of people carried guns, I walked down the road with a 22 rifle on the way to shoot cans, had one in my truck window, no one thought twice about it, nor did police. Those days are gone.
Chris Kapsalis March 06, 2012 at 11:22 PM
And finally it says police arrived with guns drawn on this off duty officer. As you know, police have to act fast, he makes a wrong move, one cops thinks he is reachig for his weapon and it is on, all shoot to kill, as they have to. Mistakes did happen it seems.
Kevin Keeler March 07, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Chris, I hear what you are saying and I sense you are genuinely concerned for public safety and for the officers who protect us. However, I still don’t think the article says he was carrying unsafely, nor does it say how the weapon became visible. We know nothing about who saw what, just a third hand report. I have to beg for your forgiveness if I assume you have limited or no experience carrying concealed. I mean that sincerely. But, I have most of my life and all of my adult life. Many sizes, makes and models. Many rigs carried in many configurations. I can tell you it’s never perfect. The wind catches you cover and your visible. You slide down in the barber chair and your shirt rides up…there it is. You bend over and your weapon is “printed” on your outer garment. I fell once going up some stairs and my coat flipped up for the entire world to see. Does that make me somehow negligent in the way I carried? If you think it does, I would argue your expectations are unrealistic. Stuff does happen. We don’t know here.
Kevin Keeler March 07, 2012 at 10:14 PM
With regard to the responding officers approaching weapons drawn, this was proper and justified. Really no other way to approach the situation once the call is made. And, I think we can dismiss the idea of knowing what a cop looks like. I know what you mean though; but, at the end of the day one can’t be sure until one checks I.D. etc. Until that confirmation, one has to respond as though it’s a legitimate crime. In this case, it’s a man with a gun call, requiring a response with safe tactics. I can understand why you see what you see in this article. However, I have a different perspective. It’s one from having been there. What I see is a call made to the police about a man carrying a gun in his waist band. We don’t know if it was carried unsafely or if he was flagrant in his concealment efforts. The police responded appropriately. They know they “might” also be dealing with an off duty cop; it’s always a possibility in the context of this particular kind of call. I know I would have considered it a possibility. You don’t know the responding officers were not able to tell he was an off-duty cop. You can’t say that because you weren’t there not have you talked to any of the officers involved to tell us what they saw and thought.
Kevin Keeler March 07, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Yes, it caused delays and I sure some people were scared. No doubt the incident was unfortunate. I would say embarrassing too. I agree with you completely if the off duty officer was carrying unsafely or was flagrant about his care in concealing properly. But, unless you have some information that goes beyond what the article gives us, your shooting from the hip and in the dark with your initial, and some of your subsequent, comments.
Kevin Keeler March 07, 2012 at 10:19 PM
One other point of clarification, the police do not shoot to kill. If lethal force is necessary and justified, the force is applied to stop or neutralize the threat. Death is sometimes the outcome but not what is sought.
Chris Kapsalis March 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Your also assuming alot Kevin.But when you shoot, with a hand gun, you do not shoot for the foot or leg like in a movie, you shoot for the middle of the torso, to stop the person asap from harming someone. You shoot to kill. Now less than leathal, yes, you do not shoot to kil, but death does sometimes result from less than leathal weapons. But I think you are misunderstanding me. I did say "from how I read it" and appoliguesed if I assumed too much.
Thomas December 28, 2012 at 07:38 AM
People are misled to panic at the sight of a firearm. If the person wanted to do harm, he could have easily drawn the weapon and started firing, or kept it hidden until he was ready to so nobody could see it. People need to stop fearing guns and awaken to their own ignorance. http://theguncontroldebate.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/winning-the-gun-control-debate-finally/
Josh Goldman December 28, 2012 at 08:11 AM
When u get robbed, I hope the cops laugh at you.
Josh Goldman December 28, 2012 at 08:14 AM
You are wrong. Fact is, cops who carry guns while not working are actually hidden cops protecting you. If something goes down such as you get robbed, this guy comes out of the shadows to save your dumb ass. What the cop did wrong was show his gun. If he shows his gun, he should have his badge right next to it as this is what undercover cops do. He should have covered it up completely with his jacket.
Josh Goldman December 28, 2012 at 08:16 AM
Actually, you are incorrect. There are holsters that go outside of your waist and there are undercover holsters that are designed to fit between the inside of your slacks and your underpants. Go to galls.com and take a look. This type of "inside the waist" holster is common amongst undercover cops.
Josh Goldman December 28, 2012 at 08:18 AM
Just about every undercover narc uses the inside the waistband holster. If you don't, you are being a very good undercover cop, are you?
Josh Goldman December 28, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Correct. A cop shoots to stop the threat. He/she shoots 2 shots to the body, 2 shots to the head, scans the environment for bystanders, then gets ready to shoot again if the threat is still standing (could have a bulletproof vest which is common in East Oakland gangs).


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