BART officials on Wednesday said a man who triggered a three-plus-hour closure of the West Oakland BART station when he shot himself in the stomach Tuesday night could be slapped with attempted murder charges.
Corey Powell, 28, of Union City has a lengthy rap sheet with felony convictions for armed robbery, grand theft and selling narcotics. Officials said he is on parole for felony burglary and armed robbery and had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest.
Two officers approached Powell at about 8 p.m. because he was smoking on the platform, an activity that is prohibited in California. He was asked to put out his cigarette, officials said, adding that he provided a false name to officers upon being asked for identification and began to behave erratically.
Contrary to what was reported in a BART statement issued Tuesday, Powell did not threaten to jump in front of an incoming train. Instead, he tried to leap from the elevated BART platform to the sidewalk two stories below, officials said Wednesday.
BART police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Jennings said Wednesday that he had viewed footage of the incident from body cameras worn by the officers. The officers struggled with Powell as he threatened to harm himself and asked them to kill him, he noted.
When Powell reached for his waistband, one officer can be heard on the video calling out a warning and saying he would use a Taser stun gun on him, Jennings said.
A single gunshot can then be heard in the video just a moment before the stun gun fires, according to Jennings, who noted that the officers had not seen the weapon prior to the gunshot.
Jennings said Powell fell to the ground and reached for the weapon on the ground, shouting that officers had shot him.
That "was not true," said Jennings, who emphasized that he was "confident" the suspect shot himself and that police did not fire the weapon. Whether the gun was fired accidentally or deliberately remains unclear. Police located his weapon and bullet casing at the station.
A passenger waiting at the station witnessed the shooting and captured the moments after the altercation on his cell phone. Officers can be seen in the videos performing CPR on Powell as a crowd gathers, Jennings said.
Powell was rushed to Highland Hospital in critical condition but was said to be in stable condition Wednesday after undergoing two surgeries. He is scheduled to have two more, officials said.
The BART Police Department is considering charging Powell with attempted murder but plans to work with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to determine appropriate charges, officials said.
BART officials sent out several tweets about the three-hour-plus closure before announcing they had reopened the West Oakland BART station. AC Transit buses were used to shuttle commuters between the West Oakland and 12th Street stations in the interim.
"Any shooting is a tragedy, and we regret the incident having occurred," BART officials said in a statement. "BART thanks passengers and concerned residents for their patience as information was gathered."
Jennings said BART police are well aware of community suspicion following the 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer at Fruitvale Station and in light of recent concern over police shootings and deaths of people in custody.
BART officers have undergone extensive training in handling confrontations with suspects and the mentally ill since Grant's death, Jennings said.
"We're very cognizant of the atmosphere so we're making sure our officers are trained in the best practices," he said.
The two officers have not been placed on administrative leave because the incident is not considered an officer-involved shooting. The case is being investigated by the district attorney's office and BART's independent police auditor.
NBC Bay Area's Gonzo Rojas contributed to this report.