*The surviving sister in the senseless stabbing attack at an Oakland BART station over the weekend is speaking out, less than 24 hours after her family day out turned deadly.
With her neck still bandaged from where the alleged attacker stabbed her, Lahtifa Wilson revealed how she begged her sister to hold on after she, too, was stabbed in the neck Sunday night.
“I’m her protector and I feel like I didn’t protect her,” she told the outlet. “She’s just yelling my name, ‘Tifah, Tifah, Tifah,’ and I said, ‘I got you, baby, I got you.’”
The sisters had decided to take the BART home from a family gathering, something they normally didn’t do, Lahtifa told ABC 7. After they were stabbed, Lahtifa said she reassured her sister, telling her they would survive: “We’re gonna get through this, I got you, you’re my baby sister.”
But despite Lahtifa’s pleas, her 18-year-old little sister, Nia Wilson, died from her wounds on the MacArthur platform, according to a press release from the BART Police Department.
Late Monday, their alleged attacker, John Lee Cowell, was arrested after BART police released photos of him from surveillance cameras and police bodycam footage, according to a second press release from the police department.
Murder suspect now in custody! BART Police took him into custody at Pleasant Hill BART. Full details to come and Chief availability at Rockridge BART at 8pm. Thank you BPD and thank riders for keeping your eye out!!
Murder suspect identified in MacArthur stabbing. John Cowell is considered dangerous. Please call 911 if spotted. RIP Nia Wilson. We will bring this suspect to justice. Our thoughts are with the family and friends.
Cowell, 27, was found via an anonymous tip from another BART rider. He was picked up on another train bound for Antioch at the Pleasant Hill Station. Cowell is on parole and was released from prison four months ago, BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas told reporters Monday night. He was previously convicted of felony second-degree robbery, and of battery in June 2013, according to SFGate.
Rojas said despite rumors that Cowell has alt-right ties, so far investigators “haven’t connected him with any type of radical group or white supremacist group.”
Before the stabbing, Lahtifa told ABC 7 she and her sister had never met Cowell and were “blindsided” by the attack.
“All of a sudden we transfer just to get blindsided by a maniac, for what I don’t know,” she said.
Lahtifa said that as Cowell walked away, she saw him standing on the stairs and looking at her and Nia.
“I looked back and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked,” she claimed. “From then on I was caring for my sister.”
“That’s my heart, she was my heart, no matter our ups and downs we still come back to each other like it was nothing,” she continued.
Lahtifa said that Nia was the “sweetest person on the earth.”
“She didn’t do nothing to nobody, I didn’t do nothing to nobody and for this to happen is just outright crazy,” she said.
Below, Nia’s mother Alicia Grayson and godfather Daryle Allums speak from the vigil held for Nia Wilson on Monday night.