Skip to main content

Machete-wielding man arrested aboard San Francisco BART train

Passengers wait for BART trains on the platform at Civic Center Station in Downtown San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has seen a recent increase in ridership following months of declining ridership during the COVID pandemic.
A machete-wielding Oakland man was arrested aboard a BART train by police Monday morning. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

An Oakland man who was spotted casually wielding a machete aboard a BART train in Downtown San Francisco is in jail after police arrested him Monday.

BART police responded to Embarcadero Station at 8:21 a.m. and arrested Aknico Heidengren, 32, on suspicion of exhibiting a weapon in public, making criminal threats, assault with a deadly non-firearm weapon and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.

A Reddit post from a witness who took a photo of the man with the machete held over his shoulder on a train says officers disarmed the man at Civic Center Station.

Hash Slinging Slasher made his way onto BART today
byu/Acatnamedwaffles insanfrancisco

READ MORE: Bay Area Transit Gets $747M Lifeline, but There’s a Catch for BART and Muni

BART police issued Heidengren a stay-away order, barring him from the transit system. Officers also said he did not have a ticket.

Heidengren was booked into jail shortly after 3 p.m. Monday and had no imminent court date, according to county records.

Oakland police had previously arrested Heidengren last September on suspicion of similar charges, including display of a weapon, assault and making threats. Oakland police said Tuesday that details about that arrest or prior contacts with him would require a public records request.

Last year, BART shifted to running shorter, six- and eight-car trains as part of a plan that included a schedule change intended to increase rider safety and train frequency. Riders have not been shy since then about voicing their frustration about the crowded, shorter trains.

BART is also introducing new security gates across the system, with the next gates expected to appear in the spring. The new gates are already operational at West Oakland Station.

Almost half of BART riders polled in a 2023 survey said they witnessed crime on the transit network and cited it as a major reason why they chose not to use the cash-strapped system as ridership lags behind pre-pandemic levels.

Woes on BART have even inspired a zany new music video.

George Kelly can be reached at