Sunday night, Nia Wilson was traveling with her sisters on the subway platform when a man stabbed her into an unprovoked attack, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said. Nia's sister Lahtifa was also stabbed and seriously injured.
"In my nearly 30 years of police experience, it was probably one of the most vicious attacks I've ever seen," said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas, referring to the surveillance video in a press conference on Monday
Suspects as John Cowell, 27, who was arrested on Monday, according to BART police.
Rojas described Cowell as a violent felon and said that he is currently on probation after being released from prison in California four months ago. Surveillance video showed not only the sting on the platform, but the attacker who removed his clothes in the park structure as he fled, the police said.
BART police patrolled MacArthur on Sunday night when the two sisters were stabbed to death around 9:36 pm. They helped the two victims, according to a BART press release.
As the search for Cowell intensified in the hours following the attack, the BART police received a phone call on Monday evening that a passenger had seen the suspect in one of the trains, Rojas said. Officers were able to take Cowell into custody.
He was not armed when he was arrested, Rojas said.
"We are very glad that we were able to detain this suspect in less than 24 hours," said Rojas.
It was unclear if Cowell has a lawyer. Rojas said he had not been charged yet.
On Monday night, protesters detained a guard for Wilson who, according to an Oakland police appraisal, took nearly 1
"The senseless and violent blackmail of two young women on a BART platform platform last night shook our community," said Oaklands Mayor Libby Schaaf in a statement.
"Although the investigators currently have no evidence of this tragedy was racially motivated or that the suspect was associated with any hate groups, the fact that his victims were both young African American women arouses deep pain and tangible anxiety in all of us who acknowledge the reality that our country still suffers from a tragic and deeply racist story, "she said.
Cowell is white, but the police say no motive was found. Cowell was not linked to any group of radical right-wing extremists or white racists, but the police are investigating all aspects because he has "a violent past," said Rojas.
Wilson's godfather, Daryle Allums, on the motive that it is unknown so far, said, "We ask the African-American community to get up now."
Attacks on the Public Transport System
Wilson's Sting was the third death after other attacks in recent days on the BART system, which serves as the backbone of public transportation in the Bay Area.
Rojas discussed the other two incidents. In any case, the victim died after a robbery on a BART station. Early Saturday morning, a 47-year-old man was found injured on the Bay Fair Station platform in San Leandro, just south of Oakland.
He was declared brain dead in the hospital. The victim, identified as Don Stevens, a survivor, was beaten by an unidentified suspect, according to BART surveillance videos on the side of his head. After being hit, Stevens dropped to the cement floor on the platform. Authorities are looking for a suspect.
On Wednesday, a 51-year-old man was attacked at Pleasant Hill Station in Walnut Creek. The victim, identified as Gerald Bisbee, suffered a small bloody lip and a small incision in the popliteal fossa and went to the hospital the next day because he said he was not feeling well. The man went to the hospital on Thursday and was later released. On Friday, he was found dead in his bed.
An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was due to an infection from a small incision on Bisbee's knee, BART said. The suspect is in this case according to BART in custody.
CNN's Braden Walker, Emily Smith and Joe Sutton have contributed to this report.