Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

BART murder suspect in custody

BART murder suspect in custody

Authorities arrested 27-year-old John Cowell on an Antioch-bound train on Monday night at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station about a dozen miles from Oakland.

Cowell was apprehended a day later after police received a tip from an anonymous BART rider who had spotted the him on a train.

Wilson was traveling on BART Sunday night with her older sisters - Latifa and Nishiya - when she stopped to help a woman struggling with a stroller exit a train at Oakland's MacArthur station. Following the brutal incident, Cowell could also be seen changing his clothes in the BART parking lot, which officials believe to be considered an admission of guilt.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas called the series of deaths "an anomaly" at a Monday press conference, saying the attacks are the "highest priority" for transit police, reported KPIX. She told ABC7 that Cowell attacked her sister suddenly and when she looked back, he was wiping blood from a knife. Then he was sentenced to prison for robbery and after serving two years, was out on parole four months ago.

Sisters Nia and Tashiya Wilson were attacked around 9:45 PM on the BART Platform when John Cowell, a white man, stabbed them both and fled.


"They didn't ask to be stabbed, those are baby girls", Nia Wilson's godfather, Daryle Allums, said Monday.

Rojas called it one of the most "vicious" attacks during his decades on the BART police force. Suspect identified in Oakland BART fatal stabbingWilson said she responded by telling her sister she loved her.

BART also shared details of the attack and the response from first responders.

Sadly, Nia was killed in the attack. Nia, just 18, succumbed to her injuries, while her 26-year-old sister, Letifah, survived the assault.

"We haven't connected him with any radical group or white supremacist group or anything like that", Rojas said. She said the Wilson sisters were returning home after celebrating Nia's late boyfriend's birthday.


Nia Wilson was a beloved daughter, sister, and friend. The victim, identified as Don Stevens, a transient, was punched at the side of his head by an unidentified suspect, according to BART surveillance videos. Cowell had a tattoo on his chest and a bandage on his forehead, she said.

Cowell is a white man, authorities said. I appreciate the commitment of these establishments to prohibit such activity in their businesses and then made a decision to hold a "Pro Oakland Movement" event this evening to support organizations that fight bigotry and discrimination on behalf of our community and our values.

On Monday evening, marchers held a vigil for Wilson that brought almost 1,000 people to downtown Oakland, according to an estimate by the Oakland police. Police sirens are heard blaring in the background as the crowd continues to viciously pummel the unnamed man.

Cowell pulled a knife and a replica gun on a supermarket clerk who confronted him over stealing, court records show.

"She needs her justice, ' Monroe said of Wilson (pictured), adding, 'She was just an innocent kid, and she didn't deserve this".


Authorities say a man fatally stabbed an 18-year-old woman in the neck and wounded her sister as they waited for a train in Oakland. Police released the identity of the suspect shortly after noon yesterday and his image was widely shared.

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