A suspect in the killings of five people and the stabbings of 15 others in three states was arrested at the airport here as he tried to board a plane to Israel, the authorities said Thursday morning.
The suspect was identified as Elias Abuelazam, 33, and investigators said they believed he was responsible for a spree of attacks in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia that began in May. Mr. Abuelazam was arrested on Wednesday night and was being held on unrelated charges, the police in Leesburg, Va., said in a statement.
“While this is a key step in the investigation, there are still many issues that need to be addressed before we identify this individual as the person responsible for this horrific crime spree,” the police said.
Nearly all of the victims were black men, and the crimes may have been racial motivated, authorities said.
Arrested in Georgia? On his way to Israel?
There’s at least some backstory available on this guy.
Independently, a tip to police led authorities to a store in Michigan, where investigators learned that he hadn’t been at work for a while because he was headed to Virginia, police in Michigan said.
Other electronic records indicated that Abuelazam was booked on a flight to Tel Aviv, leading to Wednesday night’s arrest.
Abuelazam’s former mother-in-law, Kimberly Hirth, said her daughter and Abuelazam were married for three years and lived in Leesburg before "she divorced him" in 2007.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Hirth said she had just learned of Abuelazam’s arrest, and was shocked. "I can’t talk right now," she said, almost breatheless. "I have to get my bearings."
Asked about Abuelazam’s behavior during his marriage to her daughter, Hirth, who lives in Crowley, Tex., a Fort Worth suburb, said repeatedly, "He was just the sweetest guy." She confirmed that Abuelazam worked at the Piedmont Behavioral Health Center, now called Northridge Behaviorial Healthcare, in Leesburg in the mid-2000s. She said Abuelazam was separated from her daughter and living in Leesburg "when she sent him the divorce papers" from Texas in 2007.
So, were the killings racially motivated? I’m not sure about this guy’s ethnicity — whether he’s Arab or Israeli — but looking at his picture, I can understand why victims described him as white. Either way, it doesn’t make the killings not racially motivated, whatever this guy’s ethnic background is.
The news did a good job of missing THIS story. A serial slasher is on the loose in Flint, Michigan and has been killing and slashing since May. His target: Black Men.
…We hate to say it, but if someone was killing and slashing white people, there would have been a nationwide hunt by now. Why is this the first time people are hearing about a killer on the loose since May? Has the media devalued black men so much that mass murder isn’t newsworthy. SMDH. These are racially motivated murders perpetrated by some straight up cowards. Brothas… be safe.
For what it’s worth, I did a timeline of killing spree, based on what I could glean from the news. It’s hardly up to the minute, but here it is.
I’ll leave it to someone else to compare it to other crimes….