Stabbing Suspect In String of Midwestern Attacks To Be Evaluated

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An Israeli citizen who is accused of having slashed or stabbed over a dozen victims in the midwestern United States in the past few months is in custody, and will be monitored for psychiatric issues, say officials.

Elias Abuelazam was arrested on August 11 at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, as he tried to board a flight to Israel. Amid tight security, he was transferred to Flint, Michigan where he will be held pending a continuing investigation into the stabbings. Currently, Abuelazam is only charged in one of the stabbings, although authorities expect more complaints to be filed against him.

Between May and August, Abuelazam is accused of having stabbed three people in Leesburg, Virginia; one man in Toledo, Ohio; and 14 others in the Flint, Michigan area. Most of the victims were African-American and male. Several of them were also developmentally disabled, according to police. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 60. Of the 18 total stabbings, five of them proved fatal; the fatalities have been identified as Michigan residents David Motley; Emmanuel Dent; Darwin Marshall; Frank Kellybrew and Arnold Minor.

Abuelazam is believed to have lured his victims close to his vehicle by asking for directions or assistance with the car, before attacking them.

During the span of time when the knife attacks were occurring, Abuelazam was arrested twice, once on July 29 for providing alcohol to a minor, and again on August 5 after a traffic stop. At that time, police found that he had an outstanding warrant for assault. They also discovered a knife and a hammer in his car—weapons that they now believe were used in some of the crimes.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said that Abuelazam will undergo a psychiatric examination, to determine whether or not he is prone to attempting self-harm. He is being held 23 hours a day in a 8’x13′ cell in a restricted housing area of the jail, separated from the general population. Every 15 minutes, a deputy will check on him. The cell is also specially designed with “breakaway” furnishings, so that Abuelazam will not be able to hang himself.

Abuelazam is charged in Michigan with one count of assault with intent to commit murder, but authorities in that state stress that more charges are expected to be forthcoming.

 

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