The family of the man who fatally stabbed Oakland teen Nia Wilson has issued a statement on the incident. John Cowell was arrested Monday night about a dozen miles from the Oakland station where the attack took place late Sunday.
“First and foremost, we want to let the Wilson Family know that our hearts go to them & are mourning for your family. This horrific tragedy never should have happened,” the family said via KRON4.”
“Unfortunately, John has been suffering from mental illness most of his life. He has been in & out of Jail & has not had the proper treatment. When he was released from the Atascadero State Mental Facility inside the Atascadero State Prison on 5/8/18, there was not a place for him to go with most of the mental institutions being shut down. Knowing that he was diagnosed with being bi-polar & schizophrenia, the system has failed in this instance. We had to get a restraining order at one time as well for our own protection. He was living on the streets without the proper treatment. This is in no way an excuse for this senseless and vicious attack.”
“The Concord Home in which they kept referring to is John’s Aunt. He did NOT live there as he was a transient as reported. She has had death threats and constant harassment. She too has lost 2 sons at young ages to tragic deaths. She, as our entire family is heartbroken for the Wilson Family. Our prayers go out to everyone in their family.”
Following the statement’s release, Wilson’s father, Ansar Muhammade, said he felt the family calling Cowell mentally ill was a cop-out.
“I think it’s an excuse,” he said to the Associated Press. “I hate to say that, but, you know, why would you choose two Black girls? I should be planning her graduation, not her funeral.”
Wilson died at the age of 18.