Family suing BART says 12-year-old was robbed at gunpoint

EL CERRITO, Calif. (KTVU) - The family of a 12-year-old boy who say he was robbed at gunpoint moments after walking off a train, is suing BART.

The boy's mother says gaps in station security are to blame for her son getting robbed.

It was still daylight when a 12-year-old boy from Hercules got off the BART train at the Del Norte station in El Cerrito on April 4.

It was part of his routine to take BART home after lacrosse practice in Oakland.

"As a parent I always tell him to be careful, look at his surroundings but I was always focused on outside the BART terminal, believing that inside the terminal there's some sort of safety," said the victim's mother.

When everyone got off the train, she says he followed behind but was stopped right on the platform.

"Someone came from behind him and told him to go down towards the stairs," said his mother.

The boy's mother, who wants to remain unidentified, says the suspect put a gun in her son's side while he searched the boy's pockets.

"He felt his only option was to run for it," she said.

He escaped, hopped on the next bus and called his mom. She says she then called BART.

"We got a phone call, took down a phone report and immediately assigned an investigator. That investigator pulled hours and hours of surveillance footage and walked through all of it to try and identify the victim or the suspect to get any images and we weren't able to find any images of the suspect or the victim even on the platform," said Alicia Trost, BART Spokesperson.

The victim's mother says she hired an attorney after she felt BART wasn't doing enough to catch her son's attacker. She says her son helped investigators come up with a sketch but says BART wouldn't release it to the public.

"We shared the sketch with neighboring law enforcement agencies that's typically how we handle it. We don't send every sketch to the media obviously it's a call you make if you feel that the media or the public may play a role in helping," said Trost.

Attorney Paul Justi has just filed a lawsuit against BART claiming they failed to properly investigate the robbery.

"My son's quality of life definitely has changed, He has struggled with sleeping. Having to be dependent on medication to sit and function was something he wasn't doing prior," said the victim;s mother.

The now 13-year-old is seeking psychological and emotional support from the traumatic incident. The family's attorney says they are suing BART for compensation because the mother has has to absorb some of the cost.

Trost says BART trains will all have working cameras come July. As for the stairwell, they say most are equipped with cameras.