John Lee Cowell, 27, seen here in an earlier mug shot, is wanted for allegedly stabbing two women at the MacArthur BART station.


BART: Cameras Helped Nab Stabbing Suspect

KCBS Radio Morning News
July 24, 2018 - 7:20 am

OAKLAND (KCBS Radio) -- BART Police credit images from cameras aboard a train and within the MacArthur Station in the identification and capture of a man suspected of stabbing two sisters Sunday night, killing one of them.

At least one of the images used by investigators came from BART's recently-launched fare evasion crackdown. A photo was taken of murder suspect John Lee Cowell, 27, when he was cited for failure to show proof of fare payment last week. BART Director Robert Raburn told KCBS Radio reporter Doug Sovern that photo matched a name with a face. "Six months ago, we wouldn't have even had that image of the suspect," Raburn said.

BART and Oakland Police investigators also used images captured aboard the train ridden by the suspect and victim Nia Wilson, as well as images from the platform and parking garage at MacArthur Station. Police said Cowell was seen on camera shedding his clothing in the garage before fleeing the station.

News of the arrest came as BART acknowledged two other recent homicides that occurred on the BART system. A Saturday incident at Bay Fair Station in San Leandro involved a man dying after he was punched by an assailant and then fell and struck his head. An incident last Wednesday in Pleasant Hill left a man injured and BART police say his death two days later from an infection may be related to injuries sustained in the assault.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas insisted the trio of crimes represent an anomaly, noting that the transit system carries two million people a week. "We're dealing with the same thing that any community in the Bay Area or throughout California is dealing with," Rojas said.