The family of Nia Wilson and their lawyer claimed at news conference Friday on the lawsuit against BART that the transit agency didn't do anything when the suspect who allegedly stabbed the 18-year-old last month threatened two other women.
Wilson's family lawyer said that suspect John Cowell, 27, "basically lived" on BART and was spotted with a knife by many riders. Cowell threatened two women directly with a knife, and when they attempted to report the incident, they were met with empty booths at the station, according to the lawyer.
The lawyer also alleged that other criminals freely come and go on BART because of a lack of security at fare gates. Cowell was allegedly a repeat fare evader, the lawyer said.
Heavy allegations by attorneys for #NiaWilson in a claim against #BART they say her killer "basically lived" on BART and was seen by many with a knife, and threatened to cut 2 other women directly. Both of them were met with empty booths at the station when trying to report him. pic.twitter.com/m4v8Qb2y7h
— Christopher Jewett (@sfnewsman) August 17, 2018
BART previously issued a statement in response to lawsuit before it was officially filed Friday.
"Nothing is more important than the safety of our riders and employees," part of the statement read. "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."
The transit agency noted that it has more than 4,000 surveillance cameras in operation throughout the transportation system and that police patrols resulted in a 40 percent increase in arrests last year.