The San Francisco Gate reports that a suspect has been identified in the manhunt for the BART killer in Oakland. Officials at the MacArthur BART station believe that John Lee Cowell, 27, a local transient, fatally stabbed 18-year-old Nia Wilson and critically injured her sister. The attack was unprovoked, according to officials.
Cowell has been described as 190 pounds and 5’8”, and has short, dark hair and a beard and mustache. BART police say he is considered armed and dangerous and anyone who sees him should call 911.
Crowell’s criminal history includes a 2016 felony conviction for second-degree robbery. He was also the subject of a restraining order at a hospital for harassing and threatening employees there. As a homeless man, he would often go the emergency room and make specific threats.
He was also the subject of another restraining order in 2015, but details of that incident were unavailable. Cowell was convicted of battery in June 2013 and in March 2016 of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
BART Chief of Police said they do not believe the stabbing was racially motivated. This stabbing is the third possible homicide in the BART station in five days. The Wilson sisters were stabbed at 9:45 p.m. Sunday as the train the girls and their attacker were on came into MacArthur Station. Witnesses report hearing screams coming from the train at the time.
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