Police have identified a man who was arrested and charged with threatening passengers on a train and then attacking a SEPTA police officer.
Police say Steven Mason, 40, of the Germantown section of the city, was on a SEPTA Broad Street Line subway train around 2:50 p.m. on Monday.
While on the train, Mason was allegedly belligerent and began threatening and motioning towards a female passenger with a small newborn baby.
Witnesses tell police another woman stepped in and pushed Mason away, protecting the mother and her baby.
Investigators say Mason then began to threaten the other passengers.
"Passengers were alerted because there was a man on the train saying that he had a gun and he was threatening to shoot passengers," said Steven Harold, SEPTA's inspector of operations.
After the train stopped at the Fairmount Station, Ronald Jones, a 5-year veteran with the SEPTA police force, confronted Mason and led him off the train and onto the platform.
That's when Mason allegedly began to attack Jones, grabbing for the officer's gun in the process.
"My thought was that either the man is going to get shot or the officer is going to get shot," said Riley Ross, a local attorney who witnessed the fight. "We could all get shot."
After Mason fell, Ross and another man rushed to help restrain him as Jones recovered. Investigators say Mason then got up again, returned to the train and tried to grab the child of another passenger but was unable to do so. More officers then responded to the scene. Mason was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital where he remains in police custody.
"It was that kind of mob psychology," Ross said. "I think everybody was waiting for somebody to do something. Once someone jumped in, other people came in and helped."
Mason was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on police, disarming a law enforcement officer, terroristic threats and other related offenses.
Harold thanked Ross and the other passenger for their bravery.
"The first two passengers that came on were outstanding," Harold said. "We thank you for it."
Police also thanked the woman who initially protected the mother and her child on the train, though they have not yet identified her.
Officer Jones was not seriously hurt during the ordeal. SEPTA Police say however that he lost his badge and cell phone during the fight and are asking anyone who finds the items to return them.
Credit: SEPTA Police