Family of Oakland BART stabbing victim suing transit agency

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- The family of Oakland's MacArthur BART station stabbing victim Nia Wilson is suing the transit agency, saying it should have done more to protect her and her sister.

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Investigators believe a transient randomly attacked Wilson at the station.

The family's lawsuit alleges BART never should have allowed suspect John Cowell into its stations. Cowell had been stopped for fare evasion in the days before Wilson's murder and was arrested at a BART station the day after.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost released this statement:

"The murder of Nia Wilson on BART is a tragedy and we continue to extend our deepest condolences to the Wilson family. We are thankful the suspect is in custody due in large part to our surveillance system.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our riders and employees. In the last several years BART has launched a multi-prong approach to reduce fare evasion including a new proof of payment ordinance and inspection teams as well as infrastructure changes to make it harder to bypass fare gates.

We've installed working cameras on all train cars and have a robust network of more than 4,000 surveillance cameras. We've had stepped up patrols using overtime since Spring 2017 and have worked tirelessly to fill officer vacancies.

Arrests surged last year by nearly 40% due to the fact our officers were in the right place at the right time. We also publish our crime data to the public through multiple venues, to provide transparency and public awareness.

Our hearts break for the Wilson family. Their grief must be unbearable. BART as an agency will continue to do all we can to ensure a safe trip for our riders."

VIDEO: 'Remember Her' A tribute to Nia Wilson
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Nia Wilson was just 18 years old when she was killed in an unprovoked stabbing at MacArthur BART station in Oakland. Fighting through sorrow, her friends, family, and the community at large are mourning the teenager who brightened the lives of those she knew, and has inspired many who never got the chance.

If you'd like to make a donation to help Nia's family, click here.

Go here for full coverage on the stabbing at Oakland's MacArthur BART station that took the life of 18-year-old Nia Wilson.

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