In this surveillance camera image 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. 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. The suspect attacked the sisters Sunday night as they left a train at the Bay Area Rapid Transit's MacArthur Station in Oakland. He then fled, BART spokesman Jim Allison said. (Bay Area Rapid Transit via AP)

The Latest: Family: Oakland murder suspect is mentally ill

July 24, 2018 - 8:30 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a suspect arrested in a fatal stabbing at an Oakland train station (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

The family of a man arrested on suspicion of stabbing a teenager to death at a California train station says he's seriously mentally ill and the state failed to provide him with proper treatment.

Twenty-seven-year-old John Cowell was arrested on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train Monday night. He was captured about a dozen miles from the Oakland station where police say he stabbed 18-year-old Nia Wilson on Sunday and wounded her sister.

A family statement released to KRON-TV says Cowell was diagnosed as bi-polar and schizophrenic and was released in May from a state mental hospital.

The family says Cowell has been in and out of jail and was living on the streets without proper treatment.

Family members say Cowell's illness doesn't excuse what they call a "senseless and vicious attack" and say their hearts go out to the victims' family.


11:32 p.m.

The hunt for a man police say killed an 18-year-old woman in an unprovoked stabbing in the San Francisco Bay Area has ended where it began: In a train station.

Authorities arrested 27-year-old John Cowell on an Antioch-bound train Monday night at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station about a dozen miles from Oakland.

Police say Cowell killed Nia Wilson with a knife and wounded her sister at an Oakland station Sunday night.

It wasn't immediately known if Cowell had a lawyer.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas says the motive for the attack is still being investigated. The victims were black and Cowell is white.

Police say vigil held at a BART station later swelled into a crowd of about a thousand that marched downtown.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

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