'They were completely oblivious': Hundreds of passengers on packed commuter train were so engrossed in mobile phones that they failed to spot gun-wielding student killer

Officers studying CCTV of Justin Valdez's murder say the gunman pulled out and aimed the weapon several times while riding on the train

Hundreds of passengers on board a commuter train were so engrossed in their mobile phones and tablets that they failed to spot a man wielding a gun before he shot and killed an innocent university student in San Francisco.

Officers studying CCTV of the murder of Justin Valdez said the gunman pulled out and aimed the weapon several times while riding on the train - even wiping his nose with it at one point - before eventually using it to kill the 20-year-old.

District Attorney George Gascon said: “These weren't concealed movements. The gun is very clear”.

He added: “These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this… They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They're completely oblivious of their surroundings.”

Justin Valdez Justin Valdez

Authorities told the San Francisco Chronicle that the CCTV footage clearly shows the killer raise a .45 calibre pistol and point it across the train carriage several times during the journey.

Prosecutors say they believe the movements may have been an attempt by the killer to choose his victim, as well as a potential line of fire.

30-year-old Nikhom Thephakaysone is accused of fatally shooting Mr Valdez in the back of the head on September 23. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and a number of other charges.

Police in San Francisco said that people who pay too much attention to technology while travelling could not only miss witnessing violent incidents on others, but may also be a far higher risk of crime themselves.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said: “Oftentimes when you interview people who get their phones stolen, when you ask them to describe where the person came from, what he was wearing, they have no idea”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food