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Offbeat Teen’s slaying was BART’s third possible homicide in five days

22:11  24 july  2018
22:11  24 july  2018 Source:   sfgate.com

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In the potential third homicide on BART , a man who was involved in an altercation Wednesday afternoon at a station in Pleasant Hill was found dead Friday night in his bed at his BART officials noted that Bey’ s arrest was reported on a daily log that the agency distributes to reporters and others.

Teen ’ s slaying was BART ’ s third possible homicide in five days . He said BART police arrived and began performing CPR on one of the victims.

The stabbing Sunday night on a BART platform in Oakland that killed an 18-year-old woman and injured her older sister was the third possible homicide on the transit system in five days, but agency officials did not immediately alert the public about the first two cases.

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  Killing on Oakland, Calif. train: Manhunt continues for stabbing suspect The hunt for a man suspected of slitting an 18-year-old woman’s throat and injuring her sister Sunday evening stretched into Monday morning, with police scouring the area near Oakland’s MacArthur BART station and reviewing surveillance videos of the station and train car. Nicole Mikels’ train had just rolled into the MacArthur station Sunday evening when the quiet commute was interrupted by what she called “horrifying screams.” The sounds came from the direction of two young women Mikels had noticed when she boarded the train a few minutes earlier at the Rockridge station.

Teen ’ s slaying was BART ’ s third possible homicide in five Some of the added crime can be attributed to a roughly 22 percent increase in ridership in the past decade. The three homicides within a week — combined with increased crime overall — have again pushed safety to the forefront for

New details on the BART murder suspect: In May 2016, Cowell was convicted of felony second-degree robbery charges, according to court records. That same year Kaiser Hospital filed a restraining order against him after he repeatedly harassed and threatened a female employee.

The previous incidents, which occurred Saturday and Wednesday and left two men dead, were disclosed Monday after The Chronicle began asking about them. The agency has in the past been criticized for withholding information about crimes on trains and in stations.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas said in an interview that his department had not been in a position to talk about the prior two cases until Sunday. That’s when the first victim’s autopsy linked his death to injuries from an altercation on BART, and when the second victim died in a hospital, Rojas said.

“There was no delay,” the chief said.

At a news conference Monday, he said, “We just wanted to make sure that we were giving you all the information and being as transparent as possible. ... Because, this is really an anomaly. This doesn’t happen on BART. It’s rare that we have a homicide, so of course this is ramped up to the highest priority when you have three deaths.”

3 people dead in unrelated attacks on Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in 5 days

  3 people dead in unrelated attacks on Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in 5 days Three people died in unrelated attacks at Bay Area Rapid Transit Stations in the span of just one week, authorities said. The BART Police Department said Monday they arrested John Cowell, 27, a paroled felon accused of attacking two sisters with a knife at the MacArthur station in downtown Oakland on Sunday night. The stabbing victims were identified as Nia Wilson, 18, who died from her injuries, and her sister, Lahtifa Wilson, 26. Cowell was identified by BART riders after his picture was distributed. He was seen on surveillance video wearing a white and gray sweatshirt and carrying a backpack.

BART closed the station after the attack occurred before 9:45 p.m., said agency spokesman Jim Allison. He said the second victim was rushed to a BART killing in Oakland: Stabbing suspect identified, manhunt continues. Teen ’ s slaying was BART ’ s third possible homicide in five days .

According to a statement from BART , an anonymous tip from a BART passenger led to Cowell’ s arrest. Cowell was spotted aboard another BART train miles away from the station where the stabbing took place, the statement said. Nia’ s slaying was the third BART -related death in a week, Rojas said.

The Chronicle learned of the prior incidents after Sunday’s slaying of teenager Nia Wilson at the MacArthur Station. According to BART, 27-year-old John Lee Cowell attacked her and her sister, 26-year-old Lahtifa Wilson, at 9:36 p.m. in a “random,” unprovoked attack as they stepped off a train to transfer. Cowell and the women had boarded the train in Concord.

Nia Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene, while her sister was rushed to a hospital, where she was in stable condition Monday. Police said they took Cowell into custody Monday at the Pleasant Hill BART Station after receiving a tip from a passenger. He was arrested on an Antioch-bound train.

BART said the stabbing had no connection to an incident that occurred just after 1 a.m. Saturday, when a man riding BART at Bay Fair Station in San Leandro was punched by an assailant, causing him to fall and fatally strike his head on the pavement outside the train car.

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The victim, identified by BART as 47-year-old Don Stevens, a transient, was pronounced dead at a hospital on Sunday with his family present, Rojas said. Police initially thought Stevens might have fallen due to a medical problem, but saw the attack on surveillance video.

The agency on Sunday released surveillance images of the assailant to other law enforcement agencies in a “be-on-the-lookout” bulletin, and released the same images publicly on Monday. The attacker is wanted for murder.

BART installed working cameras on all trains after The Chronicle revealed in January 2016, in the wake of a fatal shooting on a BART train, that most of the cameras on trains were decoys.

Earlier Monday, the Alameda County coroner’s office declined to provide Stevens’ name, saying BART had asked that the information be withheld from the public.

In the potential third homicide on BART, a man who was involved in an altercation Wednesday afternoon at a station in Pleasant Hill was found dead Friday night in his bed at his Pittsburg home, authorities said. The victim was 51-year-old Gerald Bisbee, according to the Contra Costa County coroner’s office.

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BART said Bisbee was attacked by a 20-year-old man named Abdul Bey, who was quickly arrested and has been jailed in Martinez since. Bisbee, who suffered a bloody lip and small cut to the back of his knee, did not initially seek medical treatment, officials said.

He felt bad the next day, though, and visited a hospital, which treated and released him, BART said. On Friday, Bisbee’s loved ones grew concerned that they hadn’t heard from him and asked police to check on his welfare. That’s when he was found dead.

Bisbee died from an infection from the cut on his leg, Rojas said, a determination the chief said was made after an autopsy Sunday. He said BART was “working with the (Contra Costa County) district attorney’s office to make sure” the evidence supports homicide charges. Bey was jailed on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest as well as on a $15,000 warrant.

BART officials noted that Bey’s arrest was reported on a daily log that the agency distributes to reporters and others.

BART’s transparency about crime on the system has been questioned before. For instance, the agency did not reveal the depth of its problem with fare evasion, or announce that a mob of juveniles had staged a 2017 takeover robbery of a train car, until The Chronicle reported on them.

In June 2017, when its police force stopped emailing the daily logs reporting crime activity, the press and public demanded the practice continue. The agency changed course within weeks.

Michael Cabanatuan, Megan Cassidy and Demian Bulwa are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com, megan.cassidy@sfchronicle.com, dbulwa@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan@meganrcassidy@demianbulwa

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