Atlanta Elias Abuelazam was about to board a plane for Israel when police arrested him in connection with a three-month stabbing spree that left five men dead, 13 others wounded and a Michigan city in terror. In the moments before the pudgy 33-year-old man in flip-flops and shorts was handcuffed, passengers saw him nervously talking on his cell phone, insisting he wasn’t violent.
The Israeli citizen and legal U.S. resident was charged Thursday in just one case out of Flint, Mich., the battered industrial city where most of the stabbings occurred, but authorities said more charges are expected there and in Ohio and Virginia. At least 15 of the 18 victims were black but it was unclear whether the attacks were racially motivated.
Flint residents hope the arrest ends their summer of fear. Roughly every four days since late May on average, the killer approached men on lonely roads at night, asking for directions or help with a broken-down car.
Then he’d pull out a knife, plunge it into his victim and speed away; in one case he used a hammer. The youngest victim was 15; the oldest 67.