A manhunt Monday ended in the arrest of a man suspected of fatally stabbing an 18-year-old woman and wounding her sister in an unprovoked attack at a BART station in Oakland — the third death in the transit system in a week. John Lee Cowell, 27, boarded the same train as slain victim Nia Wilson and her two sisters at the Concord Station Sunday night, Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Chief Carlos Rojas said in a Monday news conference.
When all four of them got off six stops later at the MacArthur Station, where the sisters planned to transfer, Cowell is accused of “very rapidly” launching an attack on Nia and her 26-year-old sister Lahtifa Wilson. Still on the platform, he stabbed both several times with a knife, including in the neck, Rojas said. “In my close to 30 years of police experience, it was one of the most vicious attacks that I’ve seen,” the chief said Monday.
Nia’s sister Nishiya came to her aid immediately, applying pressure to her neck wound, but the 18-year-old died at the scene. Lahtifa was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was in stable condition on Monday. There was no form of dispute leading up to the incident, according to Rojas, who called it an “unprovoked, unwarranted, vicious attack.”