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Brooklyn Stabbing Suspect Arrested On 3 Train; Officials Unable To Pinpoint Motive

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police arrested the suspect wanted in the murderous stabbing spree that started early Friday morning in Brooklyn and ended in a Midtown subway station.

The 28-hour rampage and manhunt for 23-year-old Maksim Gelman ended when police arrested him at the Times Square subway station around the 40th Street and 7th Avenue exits. Undercover officers encountered Gelman as a 3 Train pulled into the station.

The arrest came following a deadly spree that took the lives of Gelman's 54-year-old stepfather, his ex-girlfriend and her mother along with a pedestrian that was struck and killed after an alleged carjacking.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters at an afternoon press conference that he had never seen anything like what transpired over the last two days, 1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan reported.

1010 WINS' Terry Sheridan with details from Commissioner Kelly's news conference


Maksim Gelman House
A police vehicle is parked outside the house in the Brooklyn where Maksim Gelman lived. (AP Photo/David Karp)

"It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason that we can give you as to why he did this," he said.

Kelly said police were able to capture Gelman after receiving multiple tips from people who had recognized the suspect on the subway tracks, platforms and train between 34th and 42nd streets.

An anonymous caller reported seeing a man who fit Gelman's description on a southbound No. 1 train between 137th Street and 96th Street in Manhattan.  In addition, Kelly said a second witness got off that train and told police that Gelman knocked down a newspaper bearing his photo in her hands and asked "do you believe what they're writing about me?"

Minutes after those tips, police on a northbound 3 Train between 34th and 40th streets saw Gelman, who started pounding on the motorman's compartment door claiming he was a police officer.  Police officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor, who were waiting with the motorman, brought Gelman to the ground and recovered a knife from his hands.  The officers were also assisted by Officer Marcelo Razzo and a good Samaritan.

Gelman also allegedly stabbed a man aboard the train. The 40-year-old victim was transported to a hospital where he is in critical condition.

Gelman was wanted for allegedly stabbing his 54-year-old stepfather Aleksandr Kuznetsov "numerous" times at around 5 a.m. Friday in Sheepshead Bay. The suspect was enraged when his step dad entered into an argument Gelman was having with his mother about her refusal to allow him to take the family Lexus out for a spin, police said.

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall with a summary of the stabbing spree that began Friday morning


About 11 hours later, police received another 911 call reporting a stabbing a few blocks away. When they arrived, police discovered the bodies of Gelman's ex-girlfriend and her mother. They have been identified as 20-year-old Yelena Bulchenko and 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko.

Howell, Taylor, Razzo
Officers Howell (L), Taylor (C), Razzo (R) (Photo/DCPI)

Authorities said Gelmen first stabbed his ex-girlfriend's mother in her apartment around 10 a.m. Friday and waited there until 4:15 p.m., when Yelena Bulchenko returned home from work.  Police said the attack on her started in the apartment and continued on to the street, where she was killed.  A neighbor who tried to intervene had his jacket sleeve slashed, Kelly said.

Investigators said Gelman cryptically told them "she had to die" without making it clear if the "she" being referred to was Yelena Bulchenko or Bulchenko's mother.

When Gelman tried to get away in the family Lexus, he rear-ended a Pontiac a few blocks away.  Police said he stabbed the 60-year-old driver of the vehicle in the chest.  The driver is in stable condition.  While trying to flee in the Pontiac, Gelman struck and killed a 62-year-old pedestrian at Ocean Avenue and Avenue R.

Police said Gelman also brutally stabbed a livery cab driver in an attempted carjacking before getting away in a Nissan Maxima, which was also carjacked.

Sheldon Pottinger
Sheldon Pottinger was allegedly carjacked by Gelman (Photo/CBS 2)

That Maxima belonged to 25-year-old Sheldon Pottinger, who came face to face with Gelman and lived to talk to CBS 2 about it. Pottinger was outside a church on Eastern Parkway near Roackaway Avenue when Gelmen allegedly attacked him.  He was able to escape with an injured hand.

"When he came in the car and started looked crazy. He looked like a crazy guy.  I was saying 'oh man, this is it,'" Pottinger said, "at the same time I was fighting...fighting my way out."

Police said Gelman had a criminal record and was arrested January 26th for possession of crack cocaine. The other arrests were on drug, graffiti and robbery charges.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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