Elias Abuelazam believed to be serial stabber and killer
A man suspected to be the culprit of 20 stabbings and five deaths has been arrested at an Atlanta airport. He was attempting to board a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. The man in question, Elias Abuelazam, is an Israeli citizen who came to the United States legally. Of the 20 incidents, 16 took place in Michigan, three occurred in Virginia and one in Ohio. The majority of the victims were African American, and it is thought that race was a factor in the crimes.
Attacks began in May
In late May, reports started of people being approached by a man, fitting Elias Abuelazam’s description, asking for help with a stalled vehicle or for directions. The man would pull a knife, stab the victims and leave them for dead. According to ABC, Elias Abuelazam was recently arrested for a simple assault, which led police to believe that he was the person behind the stabbings. Law enforcement officials in Michigan, Virginia and Ohio began coordinating efforts and trying to get leads from the public to identifying the man.
Race believed to be a motive
Most of the victims were African American males, and the crimes are believed to be racially motivated. The police focused their search on Flint, Mich., where 16 of the 20 incidents occurred. Three other stabbings took place in Leesburg, Va., and one took place in Toledo, Ohio. A judge in Flint issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a stabbing on July 27. A tip in Michigan led police to Atlanta International Airport, where he was boarding a flight for Tel Aviv, Israel. A page for him was issued over the intercom, and police took him into custody without incident.
No conviction yet
There is enough evidence to believe he is the perpetrator, but at this point he remains only a suspect. Michigan, where the five fatalities occurred, is not a death penalty state, so he isn’t likely to be sentenced to death if convicted.