A Northern California train commuter was fatally stabbed, possibly as he tried stopping his killer from stealing a pair of shoes, officials said.

The confrontation happened Tuesday at about 1 p.m. aboard a southbound Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train, as it pulled into the South Hayward station along the Warm Springs/South Fremont line, authorities said.

The station, about 20 miles south of downtown Oakland, was closed for hours as police investigated.

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Investigators want to know whether the victim had intervened when the suspect tried stealing shoes from another rider, BART police told NBC Bay Area.

The suspect, a shirtless, homeless man, fled and was caught at a nearby car dealership where he tried to steal a van, witnesses said.

Jermaine Jeremiah Brim.

“We are heartbroken that a person has lost his life due to violence on one of our trains this afternoon,” BART General Manager Robert Powers said in a statement. “We extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.”

The suspect was identified on Wednesday morning as Jermaine Jeremiah Brim, 39. His last known address was in Sacramento and he was booked into Santa Rita Jail, an Alameda County Sheriff’s lockup in Dublin, California.

“This is something that is very tragic,” BART interim police chief Ed Alvarez said. “It’s rare on BART. It’s not something we get a lot of.”

The victim was not immediately identified. Powers said the system would increase security on its trains and stations.

“Effective immediately, we are increasing the presence of BART Police personnel throughout the system,” according to Powers. “Additional sworn Police Officers, nonsworn Community Service Officers, and Fare Inspectors will be in the system, on station platforms, and riding the trains as a result of posting additional overtime.”

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Last Modified: November 20, 2019