A heated argument about sports and politics led to a fatal stabbing in Oakley, Calif. this weekend, according to police.
Authorities arrested 38-year-old Phillip Wade Saturday, June 3, after he allegedly stabbed Pittsburgh native Anthony Johnson, 57, multiple times as the two argued at a bus stop that evening. Wade and James got into a war of words over politics and sports on a Tri Delta Transit bus, the East Bay Times reported, which continued after the two men got off the bus.
That’s when Wade allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Johnson several times. A driver who witnessed the attack stopped his car and brandished his gun, demanding that Wade get on the ground until police arrived, according to the newspaper.
Saturday’s incident marked the third time in six years that Wade has stabbed someone. In March 2011, a similar incident occurred where he stabbed a 23-year-old after an argument on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) that carried into the parking lot. Then, in August of 2013, Wade fatally stabbed a homeless veteran at a Chevron gas station.
Johnson, who was Black, also died as a result of injuries he sustained in the attack.
James Johnson, Anthony’s brother, told the East Bay Times that “Tony” wasn’t a violent man, but that he loved to socialize and was well-known around his home town of Pittsburgh.
“He just talked a lot,”James Johnson said. “He could talk to anybody and sometimes he would talk loud.” He socialized a lot and he talks, but he wasn’t a man to be violent like that.”
While Oakley police chief Chris Thorsen said Monday they do not believe the incident was racially motivated, the East Bay Times noted that “Wade’s Facebook page outlines increasingly hostile statements and threats toward Muslims and African-Americans.”
“On May 19, Wade posted a threatening racist statement concerning former president Barack Obama along with the gun emoji and the emoji of a man wearing a turban,” the newspaper stated.
Wade’s friend, Gabriel Desta, confirmed that the attacker was released from jail a few days following Saturday’s incident. Desta noted that his friend has had similar altercations in the last few years, and they’ve only gotten worse. He told the newspaper that Wade could be prejudiced at times, and described him as “more of a follower,” who became a “major Trump supporter.”
“He was never like this before,” Desta said. “He’s been very vocal ever since I met him, but lately he was getting paranoid. Unusually paranoid.”
Oakley police are still investigating the incident.