(NEW YORK) — A suspect is in custody in connection with five unprovoked stabbings that occurred in the Queens borough of New York City in recent days, police said.
The suspect — identified as 27-year-old Jermain Rigueur of Queens — was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with three counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault, one count of attempted assault and four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). An investigation is ongoing.
The development came hours after police said they were searching for a suspect in the assaults.
NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban called the assaults “senseless, unprovoked attacks” during a press briefing earlier on Wednesday.
The victims in the random attacks were unconnected, and the suspect was captured on surveillance footage moments after one of the attacks wielding a hunting knife, police said. None of the injuries were life-threatening, police said.
The first assault occurred on Jan. 8 around 6:20 p.m. ET, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joe Kenny. A 61-year-old man walking by himself in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood was stabbed in the lower back, Kenny said.
“The suspect actually laughed in the victim’s face after he stabbed him,” Kenny told reporters.
A good Samaritan called 911 and the victim was transported to an area hospital, Kenny said.
The second incident occurred about a week later, shortly after midnight on Tuesday in Springfield Gardens, police said. A 34-year-old woman was walking home when a man approached her from behind and stabbed her in her right side with a knife, police said. The attacker appeared to be speaking “jibberish” to himself, Kenny said.
The assailant fled on foot and the victim was transported to an area hospital in stable condition, police said.
Three stabbings occurred on Wednesday morning within an hour of each other, police said.
Two victims were attacked around 7:30 a.m. in Springfield Gardens, police said. A 74-year-old man escorting his wife to work was stabbed in the back, Kenny said. The assailant ran down the street and then stabbed a 41-year-old man in the abdomen “without saying a word,” Kenny said.
About 25 minutes later, a 36-year-old man on his way to work got into an altercation with the suspect over a seat on a bus, Kenny said. When they both exited the bus in Jamaica, the perpetrator stabbed the victim, Kenny said.
“We have confirmed that the perpetrator in all of these incidents is connected,” Kenny said.
Police said they’re also investigating whether the male suspect is linked to a stabbing that occurred on a subway train in Brooklyn Wednesday morning.
A 28-year-old man was riding a northbound J subway train in Williamsburg around 9:20 a.m. when another man walked up to him and stabbed him in the abdomen in an unprovoked attack, police said.
The victim got off at the Myrtle Avenue station and was taken to Kings County Hospital Center in stable condition, while the suspect got off a stop later at the Flushing Avenue station, police said.
The NYPD had surged officers into the subway system and increased officers in the 113th Precinct in Queens following Wednesday’s stabbings.
The suspect had been described by authorities as a man wearing a green jacket, a black hoodie and either white Converse or black and white Adidas sneakers. In some of the incidents he was seen wearing a lanyard and a surgical mask, police said.
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