BART Stabbing Suspect Arrested

(John Lee Cowell: Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

The daylong police manhunt for the man suspected of horrifically murdering a BART passenger and injuring her sister ended after police received tip from a fellow BART passenger.

Nia Wilson, 18, and her sister Lahtifa Wilson, 26, were both stabbed in the neck by transient John Lee Cowell, 27, in a sudden and unprovoked attack on the MacArthur Station platform in Oakland. 

Nia Wilson died on the scene and her older sister was hospitalized that night. 

Cowell was located on another BART train around 6:30 p.m. Monday after two other passengers spotted him and told police. He complied with police and was arrested, police later recovered the knife in a construction lot. 

In a statement, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said there was no known motive for the crime.

“The senseless and violent stabbing of two young women on a BART train platform last night has shaken our community,” she said.

Cowell has quite the record with a felony second-degree robbery conviction in 2016. The homeless man also had a restraining order put against him by Kaiser Permanente hospital in Richmond after he allegedly repeatedly harassed and threatened staff members with physical harm. 

According to Alameda County court records, Cowell also had several misdemeanor infractions of vandalism, petty theft and possession of a controlled substance on his record as well as being previously convicted of battery in 2013 in Walnut Creek. 

Nia Wilson's murder was the third possible homicide connected to BART in just five days.

Wilson’s family set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $9,000, but have already successfully doubled that amount in fundraising. 

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