Bay Area Rapid Transit police have arrested a suspect in the murder of Nia Wilson, a teenager stabbed to death at an Oakland train station over the weekend. John Cowell was apprehended more than 20 miles away from the crime scene at a Pleasant Hill BART station on Monday (July 23).
An anonymous tip led to Cowell’s arrest, KGO-TV reports. BART also confirmed Cowell’s arrest on Twitter:
Cowell, 27, is accused of stabbing Nia and her sister, Letifah Wilson, at MacArthur BART Station Sunday (July 22) night. Nia died after being stabbed in the neck. Her sister was hospitalized in stable condition.
BART police were already patrolling the station during the attack, but Cowell reportedly got away when authorities went to render aid to the victims.
Though police are calling the double attack “unwarranted and unprovoked,” the possibility of a hate crime hasn’t been ruled out. Others, including Bay Area native’s Kehlani say the murder was clearly racially motivated.
Many of the arguments have also cited the fact that Cowell — a white convicted criminal who had been released from jail in May — targeted two young black sisters a day before a notoriously violent white supremacist group planned a demonstration at a bar, less than two miles away from where Nia was killed.
Several hundreds took to the streets of Oakland Monday for rallies held in memory of Nia, and to demand justice in the brutal murder. The Oakland High School graduate was the youngest of six children, and is the third victim to be killed at a BART station in the last five days. The two previous deaths were unrelated to her murder.