A manhunt is underway for a suspect accused of fatally stabbing an 18-year-old woman and wounding her sister as they stepped off a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train in Oakland, California, late Sunday. #JohnLeeCowell, 27, was identified by police as the lone suspect Monday after authorities reviewed footage from surveillance cameras at the scene.
#BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas said police have not yet determined a motive for attacking, calling it “vicious” and “unprovoked.” He said there was no evidence suggesting the attack was racially motivated, but investigators haven’t ruled it out, the Associated Press reports.
Police said the suspect was riding in the same car as the victims Sunday and attacked them soon after they exited onto the MacArthur platform. Investigators have recovered evidence at the scene.
Cowell, who is white, stands 5 foot, 8 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds, police said. His hair was described as short and dark and he wears a cropped beard and mustache. Authorities said Cowell should be considered dangerous and urged the public to call police if they see him.
Rojas called Cowell a “violent felon” who is currently on parole. He said surveillance video showed Cowell fleeing the scene and changing his clothes in a nearby parking lot. “In my close to 30 years experience, [it was] probably one of the most vicious attacks I have seen,” Rojas said, #CBSSanFrancisco reports
Ansar Mohammed, the father of the victims, rushed to the station Sunday evening when he got word of the attack. “I want justice for my daughter. I work at Highland Hospital and I see this every single day,” he said, #CBS San Francisco reports. “I never imagined myself going through nothing like this. That’s my baby girl up there.”
The woman killed was identified as 18-year-old #NiaWilson. Police said she died at the scene. They said her sister Latifa was rushed to a nearby hospital.
“He stabbed my daughter repeatedly,” Muhammed said with tears streaming down his cheeks. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Mayor #LibbySchaaf offered her condolences to the victims on Monday.
“The senseless and violent stabbing of two young women on a BART train platform last night has shaken our community,” Schaaf said in a statement. “Every parent who saw the father of Nia Wilson grieve for his daughter is heartbroken by this horrific act.”