FLINT, Mich. (CBS/AP) A knife-wielding serial killer has been terrorizing Flint, Mich. and police say he has stabbed over a dozen men since May, killing five men and wounding eight others in a vicious spate of violence that may be motivated by racial hatred.
Survivors have described their assailant as a muscular, young white man, and all but one of the 13 victims was black, Flint Police Lt. T.P. Johnson said Friday.
Investigators are unsure if the suspect is targeting blacks or whether the victims were chosen at random.
According to CBS affiliate WNEM, all the victims were outside alone at night. Survivors have said the attacker approached them under the pretense of needing directions or help with a broken down vehicle.
"He then pulls a knife and attacks them without saying anything more," Johnson said.
Detectives have been investigating the attacks since they started, but a pattern only became apparent on Tuesday, a day after 49-year-old Arnold Minor was found slain along a Flint street, Johnson said. That led to the announcement that a serial killer might be on the prowl in the working class city ravaged by economic turmoil, budget problems and police layoffs.
Michigan State Police are leading a task force investigating the attacks. Ten have been in Flint, Mich., about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. Three others were in nearby communities.
On July 30, the body of 60-year-old Frank Kellybrew was found not far from the Flint Township motel he had called home for about 10 months.
The manager of Hometown Inn said Kellybrew had walked to the other side of Interstate 75 to buy some things from a gas station. The next morning his body was found by sanitation workers corralling trash barrels near a restaurant.
"A knife is a very personal weapon," Johnson told the AP. "To stab somebody repeatedly, there has to be some rage going on."