DART police are investigating an attack where a 17-year old says he was threatened with a gun in an attempted robbery as he was headed home from school.
The victim says the attack happened around 5 p.m. on October 23. He said he hopped on the train downtown and was threatened by a man with a gun. He says he was ganged up on by three men, one with a gun, who tried to rob him of some jewelry. When he wouldn't give it up, the attack got more violent.
The teen didn't want his family's faces shown but says he rides DART every day after school, getting on at West End Station. He says he noticed a man motion to someone about the necklaces he was wearing.
“He signals to my chains again,” he recalled. “And I was like, ‘Man, he's gonna rob me.’”
The teen says the man then pulled out a gun and hit him.
“As I fell, I got back up and he hit me again. He grabbed me. He tried choking me,” he recalled. “They were all surrounding me, and as he was choking me. The other one was hitting me from the back, and they were trying to grab my chains.”
The teen says one of his attackers ran off the train near the convention center. He got off at the next stop and flagged down an officer for help.
“I'm just very upset,” the victim’s mother said. “Your kid goes in the morning to school. You're hoping your kid comes back home safe and that he's secure on the way home.”
DART has faced criticism for other violent attacks where it failed to alert the public or withheld surveillance video of suspects still on the loose.
In July, cell phone video caught a mob beating a man on the Deep Ellum platform. So far, only four have been arrested. DART still has not released its platform video in that attack to help ID more suspects but says the investigation is still open.
In 2015, video of a suspected rapist at the Walnut Hill DART Station was not released until months later after the suspect was accused of raping again.
“I assumed being on the DART, especially in the downtown area, there's going to be some type of security on there,” the victim’s mother said. “But obviously, there isn't.”
All DART platforms and buses have cameras, but the trains don't yet. A DART spokesperson says they're currently testing cameras on 19 trains. The goal is to have 48 trains equipped by April of next year and 115 more over the next two years.
The family says officers in their case are reviewing the only surveillance footage available from the platform, but haven't found anything yet.
“I have a lot of anger knowing they're still out there,” the victim said. “Because it could happen to someone else, and I don't want that to happen.”
DART also rolled out a new security app this year where riders can report incidents directly from their phones. But the agency was not able to say how many people are using the app or how many reports have been made.