Multiple witnesses riding the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Red Line to Westmoreland station claimed that an elderly man who was wearing a chef's uniform from the Omni Hotel attacked another passenger with a butcher knife on Tuesday night. The incident took place during a scheduled stop at Cedars Station between 5:20 and 5:30 PM. Passengers began to flee the second rail car with one of them saying that someone had a knife. I was one of the passengers who witnessed the commotion and gathered reports from those witnesses immediately after it happened.
The moment of terror
As with every public transport system anywhere in the world: buses, rail lines, and subways are packed with people trying to get home.
I was sitting among them in the first train car able to find a seat next to a stranger boarding from Akard Station. Three stops away, one pick-up boarded the same car at the Convention Center Station and was passing through the center aisle, brazenly complimenting the leather jacket of a passenger sitting directly across from me.
The new passenger was black and carrying a small black plastic bag in one hand, raising some suspicion from others within range. This new passenger entered the second car into the well-area designed for disabled riders. When the train came to a stop at Cedars Station, and the doors had opened, there was a loud commotion from the second car. Passengers began running into the first car and out the open doors.
My thoughts were aligned with everyone else who thought we were experiencing our first terrorist attack.
Before we learned that a knife had been involved, we thought it would become a mass-shooting. In hindsight, it would have been our first knife-related terror incident. But the panic immediately subsided when a good Samaritan intervened. For several minutes, the rail line passengers and those on the platform were clueless as to what had just happened.
The confusion began to set in as no one could say with any certainty what had just happened. I quickly moved into the second car as Dallas Police Officers arrived to make the arrest which I caught on video.
The knife and the trigger
Pieced together by eyewitness accounts, the attacker apparently boarded the Red Line at West End Station, which follows the Akard Station stop I boarded from. While unconfirmed, one witness said that it was at that time that a few officers boarded the train car where it was obvious they were looking for someone. The suggestion was that they were looking for the soon-to-be attacker, who was still wearing his employer's uniform.
They said that he was trying to hide in the packed train. Those officers left before the train continued down the track.
During the initial confusion at Cedar Station, one woman said that the yet unidentified attacker had shown them his knife which alarmed her enough to call 9-1-1. Whether it was at this time or not is unknown but one witness said that he cussed out two female passengers. It is also unknown if the woman who saw the knife was one of them. But the black man who had just passed us through the aisle from the first car and ended up sitting next to the attacker had either offered to give or sell the elderly man a bag of potato chips. One witness said that the man initially responded with a scowl.
It was within minutes after that exchange that the elderly man pulled out his knife which was wrapped in a paper sleeve and brought it down on the back of the young man's neck. The details after this are unclear. From what I could gather, the elderly man lost his balance and both he and the young man fell over. The victim later claimed that he blacked out and somewhere along the line thought he had been decapitated. The attacker was held down by the good Samaritan who said that he punched the attacker in the face a few times when he tried to get up. The knife had apparently been confiscated and the offender stayed down until police arrived. As shown in the video, the victim claimed that he had been cut but medics did not find any cuts on his person.
Unidentified Omni Hotel employee
I reached out to three different contacts at the Omni hotel which the #Dart Rail line surrounds for all stops mentioned from West End to Cedars. So there is no doubt of the attacker's employment. None of the contacts responded to my inquiries and were notified that the incident would be reported and published. The video of the arrest showed a new viewer after I shared it to the Omni via Messenger on their Facebook page. Omni is the same company that held an Evangelical conference in support of Donald Trump in Washington, DC, this year. The Messenger also shows that they saw my message.
While there have been many attacks on the DART rail line, a recent high-profile incident showed footage of a group of teenagers attacking a passenger, Keenan Jones, who tried to stop them from smoking marijuana. Dallas News reported last month that after the attack on Keenan Jones, the transit company was looking at improving their security. I can vouch for that noticeable increased presence of officers on the DART rail, which is said to cost the company $1.7 million. After the elderly man was arrested, the victim recounted his story to the remaining passengers before getting off at the next stop. #Viral Stories