Teen killed, sister wounded in train station stabbing attack

Posted at 2:22 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 19:36:59-04

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A man fatally stabbed an 18-year-old woman in the neck and wounded her sister as they exited a train at a Northern California subway station in what officials said Monday appeared to be a random attack.

The suspect attacked the sisters Sunday night as they left a train at the Bay Area Rapid Transit's MacArthur Station in Oakland. He then fled, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

One of the women died soon after police arrived, and the other woman was taken to a hospital, Allison said.

Witnesses described the suspect as a white male in his 20s or 30s with short hair and a heavy-set build, he said. San Francisco Police identified him as 27-year-old John Cowell. By Monday afternoon, he had not been arrested.

Their relatives identified the stabbing victims as Nia Wilson, who died, and her 21-year-old sister Tashiya Wilson.

Their father, Ansar Mohammed, said one of his daughters called him, crying hysterically, and told him to get to the MacArthur station.

"I get here and I see all the police and ambulance and I ran up the platform and I see my youngest daughter laying up on their tarp, dead," he told KTUV through tears. "I want justice for my daughter. I want justice for my daughter. Please, help me get justice for my daughter."

Ebony Monroe, a cousin of the victims, said she was among several relatives who went to the train station Sunday night after hearing about the attack. She said the Wilson sisters were returning home in Oakland after celebrating Nia's late boyfriend's birthday. He drowned in a lake two years ago, Monroe said.

Monroe, 24, said her cousin attended Oakland High School and loved her family, dancing and makeup.

"She was a beautiful person inside and out, and she didn't deserve it," Monroe said.

A man who witnessed the attack told them the suspect came out of nowhere and slit Nia's throat while she was sitting down in the train and that he stabbed Tashiya as she tried to stop him, she said.

"She died for no reason," Monroe said. "We want to see justice."

Mayor Libby Schaaf in a statement identified the teen who died as Nia Wilson and said the Oakland Police Department is assisting in the investigation.

"The senseless and violent stabbing of two young women on a BART train platform last night has shaken our community," Schaaf said. "Every parent who saw the father of Nia Wilson grieve for his daughter is heartbroken by this horrific act."

Officials closed the station after the attack. It reopened at 4 a.m. Monday.