The hunt for a man suspected of fatally stabbing an 18-year-old woman Sunday night and injuring her 26-year-old sister at the MacArthur BART Station in Oakland stretched into Monday, as police scoured the area and reviewed surveillance videos of the station and a train car on which the victims were riding, Sfgate reports
BART officials said 27-year-old transient John Lee Cowell killed Nia Wilson in an unprovoked attack and also critically injured Lahtifa Wilson.
Relatives of the victims gathered at the station late Sunday night, hugging and crying after talking to police. Malika Harris identified the woman who died as her sister, 18-year-old Nia Wilson, who had attended Oakland High.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, BART Chief of Police Carlos Rojas said there was no evidence to suggest Sunday’s fatal stabbing was racially motivated, though he said police aren’t ruling out the possibility. Cowell is white and the Wilson sisters are black.
Ebony Monroe, a cousin of the victims, described Wilson as a “beautiful, sweet person” who loved her cousins, fashion and doing makeup. Monroe said Wilson had a boyfriend who drowned in a lake two years ago, and that she was celebrating his birthday on Sunday.
“She needs her justice … she was just an innocent kid, and she didn’t deserve this.” Monroe said. “And he did this for no reason.”
Daryle Allums, who spoke to reporters on behalf of the family and leads the “Stop Killing our Kids” movement in Oakland, urged the African American community to “stand down right now” and avoid jumping to conclusions on whether the attack was racially motivated.