Mario Washington (Photo: ACSO) has been charged in connection with two attacks on BART this month. Background photo: Thomas Hawk

Hours after asking for the public’s help to find a man linked to two attacks on BART trains last week, authorities announced the arrest of the Berkeley man they say is responsible for the violence.

According to the Alameda County district attorney’s office, Mario Washington was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and is set to appear in court Thursday to be assigned an attorney and enter a plea. According to court records online, Washington was charged with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of battery on a transit passenger.

The BART Police Department said Monday afternoon that an Oakland Fire Department investigator spotted the man earlier that day, about two hours after his photograph had been distributed to the media to ask for the public’s assistance to identify him.

BART PD said the man was wanted in connection with two attacks on BART trains last week.

Police said, in Thursday’s incident just after 7:30 p.m., Washington hit a seated passenger in the head with an unknown metal object, then punched and kicked him before fleeing the train and running out of the Bay Fair station. Witnesses told police the attack was unprovoked. The victim had a head laceration and was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Court papers identified the metal object as bolt cutters and identified the injuries as major.

Saturday, at about 7:30 p.m., police said Washington was on a train heading for San Francisco when he approached a stranger “and struck the man two times in the face with a closed fist” before fleeing. The victim was treated at the scene.

Police asked for the public’s help to identify this man wanted in two attacks on BART earlier this month. Photos: BART PD
Police asked for the public’s help to identify this man wanted in two attacks on BART earlier this month. Photos: BART PD

In the statement released by BART on Monday afternoon, authorities said the OFD investigator spotted Washington at about 8:40 a.m. at Ninth Street and Broadway in Oakland. He was taken into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery..

BART PD said the Alameda County Probation Department also got in touch Monday morning to “provide information on the possible suspect.” No further detail was provided.

According to court papers, Washington was charged with felonies in connection with the Thursday attack on BART, as well as two other attacks — also involving bolt cutters — on Friday. Police wrote that, in that incident, Washington “charged” at a man who was with his friend and small children. The victim recognized Washington after his photograph was released Monday, according to court papers.

Washington has prior convictions listed in court records online for voluntary manslaughter, grand theft and commercial burglary, and has previously served time in prison as a result.

According to court records, the manslaughter case dates back to 2001 and initially was charged as a murder case. Washington took a plea in August 2001 that dropped it down to a manslaughter charge, and he was sentenced to six years in prison. No further information was immediately available about that case.

[This story was updated after publication to include additional information from court papers about the attacks, as well as a third incident that took place Friday.]

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...