Nia Wilson's family reflects a year after her killing on BART

It's been a year since 18-year-old Nia Wilson was stabbed to death at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland. She was attacked at random, police say, by a man who's mentally ill.

For Nia's mother Alicia Grayson, it feels like yesterday.

"Some days are better than others," Grayson said through tears. "They say time heals all wounds but, it's still fresh."

Nia's sister Letifah was also stabbed, but survived.

"It's still a shock and overwhelming, like parts of me don't want to believe what's going on," Letifah Wilson said. "And parts of me have to face reality."

Nia had dreams of joining the Navy and becoming an EMT or paramedic, to help and heal people. 

Her alleged attacker, John Cowell has been charged with murder. Last week a judge ruled he was mentally competent to stand trial for Wilson's murder. 

In the year since Nia's death, BART says its taken steps to improve security.

But incidents are still continuing. 

Just Sunday, a woman was punched repeatedly at the Coliseum BART Station after confronting a suspect who had just robbed her of her phone and wallet. The incident was captured by a preacher wearing a body cam. The preacher posted the video to YouTube and Facebook.

"Give it back!" the preacher screams on the video. "Call 911!"

BART confirmed to KTVU that no officers were at the station, and that no arrests have been made. 

"I don't know what it is they do or get paid for, but it's not to be at the BART station," Grayson said.

Over the past year, BART officers were twice required to work overtime shifts. Overtime is still offered, but it's no longer mandatory.

Besides arresting Cowell, BART officers have arrested murder suspects wanted by other agencies, including the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and El Cerrito police.

BART hired 33 officers this year, and 24 in 2018. It still has 16 officer vacancies, the lowest in two years.

That's little comfort to Nia's family.

"I will never ever take BART again, and I do encourage others not to take BART," said Tomisha Wilson, Nia's sister. 

BART recently unveiled new, higher fare gates at some stations to deter fare evaders. The agency says Cowell at one point was cited for fare-evading.

Nia's father Ansar El Muhammad said he isn't impressed.

"There has to be physical people there to protect other people, instead of machines," he said. "Machines can't do the work."

"Nia" means "purpose" in Swahili. Her family hopes her legacy will be to force changes at BART, changes they have yet to see.

"I don't think anything has changed," Grayson said. "I mean whatever they do, they do for the moment, you know, and then it's like it go right back to how it was."

Nia's family on Monday launched a website dedicated to providing services, housing and employment for young men and women. That website is