NEW YORK – At least four New Yorkers were killed in a stabbing spree by a man whose rampage left a trail of blood from an immigrant neighborhood to touristy Times Square, police said Sunday.
The 23-year-old suspect, Maksim Gelman, was wrestled by police to the floor of a Subway car in the Times Square station on Saturday shortly after allegedly slashing his last victim.
His crazed spree began 28 hours earlier in a Brooklyn neighborhood home to large numbers of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, where Gelman allegedly killed his stepfather, ex-girlfriend and her mother.
He then ran down a pedestrian, his fourth victim, in a stolen car at the start of a wild journey across the city, according to police. At least four others were stabbed and wounded, including the car's owner, a taxi driver and a Subway passenger.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who has worked for the New York Police Department for decades, said he was baffled.
"It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this," he told a news conference.
"He made a statement that 'she had to die.' There are two female victims here. We're not certain which one he's referring to. But other than that, we know no specific reason why," Kelly added on NY1 television.
The police chief said Gelman would likely have just kept on stabbing, had he not been caught and overpowered on the train.
"Obviously, if he wasn't apprehended this morning, he could have injured, killed many more people," Kelly said.
Police released pictures of Gelman's alleged weapons, including a large, blood-stained kitchen knife. Witnesses of the subway attack described terror and mayhem.
"People were running and screaming and saying, 'Get to the back of the train, get to the back of the train.' We didn't know what had happened," a passenger told NY1.
"I was very scared when I saw the people streaming through, running through," another told the local news channel.
"They were moving as fast as they could, pushing each other and (we thought,) what is going on? Once he was apprehended, they told us eventually."