After the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, police have arrested the man suspected of killing the young woman and injuring her older sister, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. On Monday, July 23, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Department released images of the suspect from surveillance videos taken the night of the vicious stabbing. A tip from a train passenger led police to 27-year-old John Lee Cowell on Monday evening.
According to CBS News, BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas characterized Cowell as a “violent felon” on parole. Cowell stabbed the two sisters in the neck while they were stepping off a BART train in Oakland, California. Cowell was reportedly in the same car as the sisters and waited to strike upon exit. After the attack, Cowell runs from the scene on surveillance video, before ducking into a nearby parking lot to change his clothes.
“In my close to 30 years experience, [it was] probably one of the most vicious attacks I have seen,” Rojas told CBS San Francisco in response to the footage.
Rojas has not ruled out the possibility of racial motivation. Oakland singer Kehlani labeled the attack a hate crime on Monday.
While Nia’s parents mourn their loss, they’re also caring for Letifah, who remains in the hospital.
“I want justice for my daughter,” Ansar Mohammed, father of the victims, told CBS San Francisco. “I work at Highland Hospital, and I see this every single day. I never imagined myself going through nothing like this. That’s my baby girl up there.”
Oakland’s mayor offered condolences to Nia and Letifah’s parents.
“The senseless and violent stabbing of two young women on a BART train platform last night has shaken our community,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “Every parent who saw the father of Nia Wilson grieve for his daughter is heartbroken by this horrific act.”
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