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Sisters Attacked After Getting Off Oakland Train, One Dies

It's the 3rd possible homicide related to BART in 5 days
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2018 12:01 AM CDT
Jasmine Malone, 23, holds a sign at a vigil held for 18-year-old Nia Wilson, who was stabbed to death the night before at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland, Calif., Monday, July 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Lorin Eleni Gill)
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(Newser) – An 18-year-old woman was fatally stabbed on an Oakland train station platform Sunday night, the third possible homicide related to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in five days. Nia Wilson had just stepped off a train at the MacArthur Station around 9:36pm when, officials say, 27-year-old John Lee Cowell, a paroled felon who had been on the train with Wilson and her sister but had not interacted with them, suddenly attacked them both. Wilson, who was stabbed twice in the neck in what the BART police chief called a "prison-style attack," died at the scene; her sister, 26-year-old Lahtifa Wilson, was injured. A tip from a rider led to Cowell's arrest on another train in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday night, the AP reports. Officials say the attack was unprovoked and appeared to be random.

Lahtifa Wilson, who says the sisters were returning from a family outing when they were attacked, applied pressure to her sister's wound with a baby blanket given to her by a passerby; she says her sister died while calling out her name for help. "I got you, you're my baby sister," she says she told her. "It's nothing imaginable, seeing your child on the BART platform with a yellow tarp over her body," says the women's father. "That is an image I'll never forget for the rest of my life." The previous two incidents appear to be unrelated to Wilson's death: a man died Friday at his home after an altercation Wednesday at a Pleasant Hill station in which he got a cut on his leg that later became infected, causing his death; and a homeless man died Sunday, a day after being punched by an attacker at a San Leandro station and then fatally hitting his head on the pavement when he fell. The BART police chief tells the San Francisco Chronicle the rash of killings is an "anomaly." (Read more Bay Area Rapid Transit stories.)

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