Oakland Police Searching for John Cowell, a Man Suspected of Following, Stabbing Two Sisters In Unprovoked Attack

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John Cowell Stabbing victim
Victim Nia Wilson

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.

Authorities in Northern California say the man wanted in the fatal stabbing of a teenager at a subway station is a violent felon on parole.

Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Chief Carlos Rojas said Monday surveillance video shows 27-year-old John Cowell “struck very rapidly,” stabbing 18-year-old Nia Wilson to death and injuring her sister, Latifa Wilson.

Rojas says detectives found a knife at a construction site near the MacArthur train station they believe was used in the attack.

Rojas says surveillance video shows Cowell attacked the sisters quickly, stabbing them after they exited a train.

John Cowell suspect
In this photo released Monday, July 23, 2018, by Bay Area Rapid Transit is John Lee Cowell, a suspect wanted in the stabbings of two women at a BART station in Oakland, Calif. (Bay Area Rapid Transit via AP)

He says it was an “unprovoked, vicious attack” and that officials have not determined a motive.

Rojas says surveillance video also shows Cowell fleeing through a parking lot, where he changed his clothes.

Ebony Monroe, a cousin of the victims, said her cousins 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.

She and several relatives went to the train station Sunday night after hearing her cousins had been attacked to see if they were OK, 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.”

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

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