UPDATE 10:41 p.m. EST
The wounded sister of an 18-year-old woman fatally stabbed in the neck while transferring trains said they were “blindsided by a maniac.”
Lahtifa Wilson, 26, said that she, her baby sister Nia and a third sister had been returning from a family outing when they were attacked by a man.
“I looked back and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked. From then on, I was caring for my sister,” Wilson told ABC7 News on Monday, speaking outside a family member’s home with a bandage on her neck.
Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Chief Carlos Rojas said Monday that officers were scouring the area for John Cowell, 27, who is suspected in the Sunday night attack at the MacArthur Station in Oakland.
Wilson said a woman with a stroller gave her a baby blanket to apply pressure to her sister’s neck, but Nia Wilson died calling out her sister’s name for help.
Wilson said she told her sister she loved her.
“We’re gonna get through this, I got you, you’re my baby sister,” she said.
Surveillance video on the train and at the station’s platform showed Cowell had been riding the same car as the sisters, but they did not interact, Rojas said.
As the group got on the platform, Cowell quickly attacked them. “It looks like it was an unprovoked, unwarranted, vicious attack,” Rojas said.
Surveillance footage showed Cowell fleeing the station through a parking lot and stripping off his clothes there. Detectives recovered a knife they believed was used in the attack at a nearby construction site, Rojas said.
The women’s father, Ansar Muhammad, said one of his daughters called him, crying hysterically, and told him to get to the MacArthur station.
“It’s nothing imaginable, seeing your child on the BART platform with a yellow tarp over her body,” Muhammad said Monday evening as he and other family members joined dozens of people for a vigil at the station. “That is an image I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. So I want justice. All I want is justice.”
Update 7:03 p.m. EST 7/23
This is the man police are looking for in the tragic murder of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, randomly attacked on the BART in Oakland, California. John Lee Cowell has been identified as a suspect in the case, police say and a manhunt is happening right now.
At this time, the stabbing death of Wilson is considered a random event. Cowell is an known fare evader and although he is white and the sisters Black, it’s unknown if the crime is racially motivated. Cowell is apparently homeless and has a prior record, which includes threats against personnel at a local hospital.
Sisters Lahtifah Wilson and Nia Wilson were attacked at a BART station in Oakland, California.
According to The Hollywood Unlocked, the assault took place around 9:45 P.M. on July 22 at the MacArthur station. Lahtifa, 26, has been treated at a local hospital, while, Nia, 18, unfortunately, has passed away.
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TSR STAFF: Chantel Kelli! @_popchanny! _____________________ #Roommates, the family of #NiaWilson and #TashiyaWilson are in our thoughts and prayers as we have learned the two sisters were attacked at a #BARTstation in Oakland, California. _____________________ According to reports, the stabbing took place around 9:45 P.M. on Sunday (July 22) at the MacArthur station. Tashiya, 20, has been treated at a local hospital, while, Nia, 18, unfortunately, has passed away. _____________________ As of now, there is no reported motive for the stabbing, and police are still searching for the suspect, who was described as a white male, 5'9", with blonde hair, spiked on the side. This story is developing.
One witness says he saw a portion of the train attack but was surprised because he didn’t hear any yelling or arguing before the altercation. His back was turned away from the victims when he heard a commotion and when he turned around he saw one of the victims bleeding from her neck while the suspect was “poking” the other woman.
As of now, there is no reported motive for the stabbing, and police are still searching for the suspect, who was described as a white male, 5’9″, with blonde hair, spiked on the side.
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