Family, Community Mourn Nia Wilson at Oakland Funeral

"We need to stop it. Everybody needs to come together, not as a race but as a people. It needs to stop," Wilson family friend Alicia Carr told NBC Bay Area

The family of Nia Wilson called for an end to senseless violence as they say goodbye to the 18-year-old Friday at her funeral on Friday.

Friends and family members wore white t-shirts with a photo of Wilson and put up signs demanding justice at the Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland.

Andre Dickerson, Wilson's uncle, said he just wishes peace for everybody. "All this senseless killing gotta stop. My niece is in there, we're saying goodbye to her today," Dickerson said.

Inside the church, a white coffin sat next to a white flower arrangement that spelled out "NIA." 

"Nia's love was the kind of love that will never fade away," said her sister Letifah Wilson. "I promise to always love you and never forget you, can you promise to come visit me in my dreams?”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was among those in attendance. 

"We stand with you today in this outpouring of love...we stand with you today demanding justice,” Lee said.

Wilson's family said her name means "purpose" and they now believe her purpose on earth was to unite others. They say they are determined to get justice.

"I’m mad ... and you all talking about justice but I want more than that, baby more than that," said bishop Keith Clark. "Black folks in the town and we aren’t going nowhere!"

Her loved ones placed her coffin in a horse drawn carriage and released 18 doves, one for each year of her life.

A number of people also attended Wilson's viewing Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to the woman who was fatally stabbed at the MacArthur BART Station in Oakland last month.

Wilson's family and friends gathered at City Hall for an Open Mic session Thursday to share their thoughts and grief following a viewing.

"She looks like a princess, she is so beautiful," said family friend Robin. "Beautiful in life, beautiful right now. So sad what happened, 18 years old, still a baby.”

The law firm representing Wilson's family is alleging that suspect John Cowell, 27, jumped the agency's fare gates before the attack and should have been stopped for doing so, noting that the crime was foreseeable and preventable.

Cowell is accused of stabbing Wilson and her older sister on July 22 at the East Bay station. Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene while her older sister managed to survive.

Cowell, who initially fled from the scene following the nighttime attack, hopped on BART the following day before he was arrested at the Pleasant Hill station.

The lawsuit will also allege that other criminals freely come and go on BART because of a lack of security at fare gates.

BART issued a statement in response to the impending lawsuit.

"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.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said it's likely this tragedy will prompt even more security reviews.

"Every public agency that goes through a trauma is responsible for learning from that trauma and making improvements and doing better," Schaaf said. "Doing everything in your power to prevent the tragedy from ever happening again."

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