The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

A White, Male Serial Killer Stalking Black Men?

I’m assuming the blonde woman in the Prius, with a kid in the back seat, who stopped to ask me for directions Monday morning was safe. But, until they catch this guy I’m not telling anyone else where to go.

A Michigan prosecutor said Tuesday that stabbing attacks in his state that killed five people are linked to similar attacks in Virginia and Ohio.

So far, authorities have reported a total of 20 such attacks in the three states. Genesee County, Michigan, prosecutor David Leyton said on CNN’s "American Morning" that the victims’ description of the attacker and his car are similar.

"We think we have the same perpetrator," he said.

Leyton said police believe the man is responsible for three recent attacks in Leesburg, Virginia, the stabbing deaths of five people and injuries to 11 others in the Flint, Michigan, area and a stabbing Saturday that injured one man in Toledo, Ohio.

Fourteen of the 16 victims in Michigan were African-American, he said, but Flint is also a majority African-American community. In majority white Leesburg, Virginia, two victims were black and one was Hispanic.

Great. On top of the usual day to day stuff, I gotta look out for a serial killer who may be in the metro-D.C. area, and whose favorite victims are apparently people who look like me.

I saw a headline about this yesterday, but didn’t get around to reading the article until the hubby called to warn me about it. When I got to the office today, I shared it with two of my black, male co-workers, with a description of the guy and warning not to give directions to or offer to help anyone fitting his description.

Subject: White Male
Age: Late 20s to Early 30s
Height: 5’11 to 6’2"
Weight: 180 to 210 lbs
Hair: May have light-colored hair
Other: Usually wears a baseball cap
Location: Flint, Mich.
Contact: Toll-Free Tip Line:1-866-246-9500

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is leading a task force that is investigating a series of 13 stabbings that occurred in the Flint area. Investigators are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect.

All of the attacks have occurred at night. The victims are usually smaller-framed black males, ranging in age from 17 to 60 years of age. The suspect approaches his victims and engages in short conversation. Once within reach, he attacks, stabbing repeatedly. He then leaves the scene without further comment.

The suspect is described as a white male, late 20s to early 30s. He is 5’11" to 6’2", 180 to 210 pounds. He may have light-colored hair and usually wears a baseball cap during the attacks.

Anyone with information about this suspect is asked to contact the task force’s toll-free tip line at 1-866-246-9500.

Police say he appears to chose victims who are alone, vulnerable, older, or of small stature. Great. At 6’2" and 180 to 210 lbs, it’s safe to say this guy would tower over me, and outweigh me by 50 lbs or more.

And here’s a video of his vehicle. (Assuming he’s still driving it.)

It’s described, along with the suspect, by CNN:

The suspect is described by Michigan authorities as a white man in his late 20s to early 30s. He is driving a Chevy Blazer or GMC Jimmy, model years 1995-2005, with a two-tone green top over a beige or gold bottom. Virginia authorities provided a similar description: an older model 1995-2000 Chevy S-10 Blazer with a dark green upper and a lighter tan or beige color on the lower panels.

The suspect is described as a stocky, unshaven white man usually wearing a baseball cap with a stud earring in his left ear.

Surviving victims say the man asked for directions or for help with a broken down car, pulled the Best Pocket Knife stabbed them and left them to die.

He was waiting at a bus stop in Burton when a man approached.

The guy said he needed help with his vehicle.

It wasn’t long before Antoine Jackson became the fifth victim of a man police say is a serial killer targeting men and stabbing them, some to death.

It was early July 12 when the 28-year-old was stabbed four times, said his aunt Priscilla VanSickle of Flint.

"He stabbed him in the eye, actually to the bone and he chipped a bone off in his head," she said Tuesday. "He really, basically, left him there to die."

But Jackson didn’t die.

He is one of 16 men believed to have been attacked by a man in the Flint area. Five have been killed.

When I’m asked for directions, as a general rule, I do not approach the car of the person who’s asking. If I have any directions, I give them from where I’m standing. But it sounds like that safety precaution wouldn’t work here, because this guy isn’t necessarily in his vehicle when he approaches his victims.

Anyway, one Leesburg victim was out jogging when he was stabbed in the back. No broken down vehicle, no request for directions.

What’s most interesting is that the police are being extremely careful about what could be motivating the crime and the choice of victims.

Fourteen of the 16 victims in Michigan were African-American, he said, but Flint is also a majority African-American community. In majority white Leesburg, Virginia, two victims were black and one was Hispanic.

"We don’t know what’s in the mind of the assailant. We know he’s an evil guy, but we do not know enough to make the leap that this is racially motivated," Leyton said. "We’ll catch him."

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s because they haven’t caught him yet, so they haven’t had a chance to ask him yet.

Some observations:

  1. At present, as near as I can tell, there are no reported connections between the victims, or anything that would suggest he’s seeking out specific individuals.
  2. This is a guy who’s initial hunting ground was a predominantly black community — Flint, MI. It’s possible he’s from that community, but that seems unlikely. He’d stand out and would probably be familiar to at least some people, a  have been identified by now. Someone would have to know who he is, and would probably turn him in or identify him to police.
  3. It seems at least likely that he had to travel to Flint to find victims. Why would he pick that area? Either it’s convenient to his home base or comfort zone, or he was seeking out a specific type of victim and went to the nearest place with the largest supply of such victims.
  4. If the same guy struck in Leesburg, a predominantly white area, that doesn’t mean he’s not seeking out a certain type of victim. He may have chosen Leesburg at random after leaving Michigan, perhaps because there was too much "heat" and too much danger of being caught. In fact, that his Leesburg victims were black or Hispanic could suggest that he made an effort to find those specific victims, even when they were in short supply and harder to find.
  5. Speaking of which, how is he supporting this killing spree? Does he have money? Is he sleeping in his vehicle or staying in hotels? The former seems more likely, as there would be fewer people who could identify him, and less of a paper trail. But if he has money, where is it coming from? Is someone sending him money? Does he have a job? Is he recently unemployed and using up what money he has left? There are more questions than answers right now.

That’s enough to make me think the psychiatrist who spoke to the Washington Post is probably right.

Ronald Turco, an Oregon psychiatrist who has studied serial killers and worked with the FBI, said if it is the same assailant, he thinks the crimes are probably racially motivated, partly because the attacker has targeted similar victims and Leesburg is not predominantly African American. The town’s population is about 10 percent black.

"I’d say it’s someone who has a deep resentment against black people," Turco said.

It’s probably a safe bet. But beyond that, at present no one knows exactly what’s going in in the killer’s mind except the killer himself. So,I don’t blame the police for stopping short of saying the same thing. They want to catch the guy, and not stir-up a controversy with theories about a possible motive.

I want them to catch him, too. And I think I’ll follow their lead and stop my armchair profiling right here. There’s no point in too much speculating about what motivates this guy, and I don’t want to say anything I’ll have to retract or walk-back later.

We’ll know more when this guy is caught. And I think he will be. Eventually, someone will be able to identify him, someone who sees him will come forward, or he’ll be caught in the act or shortly after his recent attack.

Then perhaps we’ll know more. Maybe a lo more.

Until then, it appears there’s a white, male serial killer on the move, and he’s targeting black men or men of color.

UPDATE: Another attack was reported in Toledo, OH.

A suspected serial killer thought to be linked to at least 20 other attacks in Flint, Michigan and Leesburg, Virginia is suspected of attacking a Toledo man on Saturday, August 7 while he took a break from work in an alley off Collingwood Blvd.

Anthony Leno was critically injured after attempting to provide directions to his attacker. Leno was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery and is recovering.

Police suspect this attack is linked to at least 20 other attacks. All but one of the victims have been black males, ages ranging from teenaged to mid-60’s. The suspect stops his victims by asking for directions, or asking for help with his car. The suspect has killed five men, and injured over a dozen others.

And it’s possible the killer struck twice in the same day, in Toledo.

That’s three states, so far. This is a story I plan to keep an eye on.

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