By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A scare on the rails – for the second time, a suspect with a gun is caught on a Septa train.
This time, an off-duty officer risks his life to disarm the teenager on the subway and just hours later, the Deputy Sheriff spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News.
“Checked it out and sure enough there was a gun,” Deputy Sheriff Antonio Tabita recalled.
The 39-year-old was on the southbound Broad Street subway at around 3:30pm Friday and now he says he can’t help but wonder what could have been if not for an alert Septa passenger.
Tabita explained, “He said, ‘Officer, please don’t get off the subway yet. There are two gentlemen down at the subway, they have a gun’.”
The 12-year-veteran was off duty, on his way home in full uniform.
“I didn’t want anyone to get hurt if something would have happened,” Tabita said.
In an exclusive Eyewitness News interview, Tabita says he could tell his presence made the two nervous and at the Federal Street stop, the two males got up to leave and that’s when Tabita made his move, calling for Septa police and making the arrest.
Tabita said, “After I cuffed the male, I patted him down, the gun was down deep into his pocket at that point I pulled it out. It was a .22 revolver.”
This arrest comes just weeks after Jermal Ponds was busted also aboard a Broad Street train, caught carrying several weapons, including an AK-47 with 40 live rounds of ammunition, a .38 revolver and a 12-inch knife. He remains in jail. Police say in that case, they were also notified by an attentive passenger.
“Every citizen should speak up. It’s really good that he stepped up and said something because anything could have happened by the end of the night,” Tabita added.
According to Philadelphia’s South Detectives now in charge of this investigation, of the two juveniles, one was cleared of any wrong-doing.
The 16-year-old, however, who was found with the gun, police say was also in possession of narcotics.
So late Friday, the 16-year-old remained in police custody, charged with weapons and drug-related offenses.