An off-duty San Jose police sergeant on his way to get a marriage certificate with his fiance, ended up being a hero when he helped stop a robbery on BART.
In the end, Sgt. Fredrick Kotto was cheered by the Dublin-Livermore passengers, and he and his beloved were able to make their wedding-day appointment with minutes to spare.
The heroic actions began on Feb. 11 about 10:30 a.m., when Kotto, an 18-year veteran of the department, was on his way to San Francisco with his betrothed. They were trying to be "green" he said, by taking public transportation.
"We've been together ten years and I thought it was probably time we ought to get married," he told a bank of reporters on Friday afternoon. He added: "You've got to meet my beautiful fiancee. She's fantastic."
All of a sudden, he turned around to see several passengers in a fight and he heard someone yell out: "Stop him! He tried to rob me! Stop him please!" Apparently, the suspect had been trying to rob a 41-year-old woman on the train.
The suspect actually turned out to be a bald woman, later identified as 31-year-old Jennifer Davis of Oakland.
Kotto spotted the woman pushing the other passengers and trying to escape, even when one of the passengers tried to deploy a stun-gun on her.
But Kotto was not deterred. Police say he raised his shirt to show his SJPD badge and off-duty weapon and ordered Davis to the ground. After a brief struggle, Kotto pulled Davis to the floor of the train and put her in a wrist-lock control hold.
Moments later, the train stopped in West Oakland and uniformed BART police officers took Davis into custody. Several passengers cheered and applauded Kotto. The victim came up to Kotto and said, "I want to thank you. Thank you so much."
Kotto was touched. But he did want to get to the "church on time," so to speak. He asked the BART officers if he could provide his statement at a later time so he wouldn't miss his "pre-paid" marriage certificate appointment. The BART officers understood, and Kotto an his fiancee made it to their appointment with four minutes to spare.
As promised, Kotto, a former Special Operations METRO officer and an Internal Affairs Investigator, called BART police to recount the story. And the Alameda County District Attorney's Office has filed charges against Davis for one count of robbery. Her probation was revoked as well.
"It was a calculated risk," Kotto told the reporters. "But it was worth taking."
The happy couple is expected to tie the knot on March 13.