Michigan Serial Killer Caught? Person of Interest in Custody, Say Police
DETROIT (CBS/WNEM/AP) The man police believe to be responsible for at least 20 stabbings, five of which were deadly, in three states, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., police said Thursday morning.
Police in Leesburg, Va. released a statement saying a tip had turned into a "strong investigative lead" on Wednesday and that an "individual who has ties to both the Flint, Michigan and Leesburg, Virginia areas" was taken into custody on unrelated charges.
Investigators from the Michigan Task Force, Leesburg and the FBI worked this lead through the night. A person of interest was taken into custody. He is currently being held on unrelated charges.
CBS affiliate WNEM reports the suspect is thought to have been racially motivated. Most of the 20 people he attacked were African-Americans.
The first 16 attacks happened in and around the working-class city of Flint, Mich. Even though all but two of the Michigan victims were black men, detectives there have been hesitant to say the attacks were motivated by racial hatred.
But police in Leesburg, a predominantly white city where three of the most recent attacks occurred, believe the three victims there were chosen because they are black, WNEM reports.
"We became convinced early Saturday and into Sunday that we were dealing with a race-based crime," Leesburg Police Chief Joseph Price said at a Tuesday press conference.
The Leesburg victims were a 15-year-old boy, stabbed near a gas station, a 67-year-old man attacked with a knife while sitting on the steps of an apartment building, and a man hit in the head with a hammer, reported CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano. All survived.
"I believe his motivation is pure hatred," Price said at the Tuesday news conference in which he released a short video clip of the vehicle the suspect drove after attacking a 19-year-old man with a hammer.
Federal and state law enforcement agencies trying to track down the killer have been reluctant to disclose details of what they've found out, and most of the names of the victims have not be released.
State Police First Lt. Patrick McGreevy, who heads the Michigan Task Force investigating the attacks, declined to say much about the case on Tuesday but said investigators are poring over state prison records and past cases that are similar in nature.
"A nationwide intelligence broadcast has gone out, and we're monitoring any incoming information from any state," McGreevy said. "We don't know what is in his head. What we do know is there has been a string of very, very violent and deadly attacks in Genesee County, and attacks in Leesburg that are similar."