A train stabbing attacks along NYC’s Subway line leads to lone man, Rigoberto Lopez, 21, confessing to slashing spree that left two homeless dead and two others seriously injured.
An individual responsible for the fatal stabbing of two homeless men along with the slashing of two others on NYC’s subway along the A line in recent days was on Saturday arrested.
The slasher who came to be known as the ‘A-train Ripper’ was in custody come Saturday night the nypost reported.
The knife-wielding individual, since identified as Rigoberto Lopez was wanted in a subway spree that left two homeless people dead and two others slashed along the A train line, was arrested in Upper Manhattan.
Lopez, himself homeless and with a prior history of mental illness was still splattered with his victims’ blood when he was taken into custody just on 6:15 p.m. Saturday at W. 186th St. and Audubon Ave. in Washington Heights after hundreds of cops were deployed to keep the public safe from the mystery killer.
The suspect was still in possession of the murder weapon, described as a bloody knife the nydailynews reported.
Homeless man confesses to 4 stabbings
Cops said the man confessed to all four unprovoked attacks. Lopez was charged with murder and attempted murder Sunday afternoon.
‘They were all unprovoked attacks and the victims didn’t initiate anything,’ NYPD Deputy Chief Brian McGee said Sunday. ‘The victims didn’t initiate anything.’
The bloodshed has sparked an outcry for safer subways, with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea since announcing a surge of 500 additional cops for the department’s Transit Bureau to be deployed across the city immediately.
‘The common denominators that we see in these four incidents are the proximity of the crimes as well as all four occurring on the A line,’ Shea said during a news conference Saturday, PIX11 reported.
The spree began Friday morning, not far from where the alleged stabber was caught, authorities said. The fatal stabbings took place on opposite ends of the A subway line, which connects the Inwood section of Upper Manhattan with Rockaway, Queens.
At 11:30 a.m., 67-year-old homeless man, Carlos Martinez was stabbed as he pushed his walker along the southbound platform at the A train’s 181st Street station in Washington Heights.
‘I am going to kill you!’
‘I am going to kill you!’ the attacker is alleged to have screamed at his victim, according to sources. He was stabbed in the right knee and left buttocks; while he required surgery, he is expected to survive the attack.
That attack is preliminarily believed to be connected to three subsequent attacks.
Twelve hours later, at 11:29 p.m. Friday, a man was found stabbed to death but still slumped in his seat on an A train at Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway.
14 hour window of terror
He suffered stab wounds to his neck and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Some two hours after that, at 1:15 a.m. Saturday, a 44-year-old woman was found sprawled dead, in a pool of blood, under her subway seat inside an A train at the 207th Street station in Inwood.
She had been stabbed throughout her body.
Afterward, at 1:28 a.m. Saturday, a 43-year-old man was randomly stabbed as he slept on a stairwell at the A train station at West 181st Street.
He stumbled to a nearby bank on West 181st Street, but collapsed before entering the vestibule, cops said.
The victim is being treated at an area hospital for four puncture wounds to his back, and is in stable condition.
Suspect had spent time at a hospital psychiatric ward
The 44-year-old woman was taken to New York Presbyterian-Allen Hospital, where she was declared dead, according to authorities.
Police said all the victims were believed to be homeless. They appeared to have resorted to the subways for shelter before they were knifed.
Police said Lopez is mentally ill and has spent time in at least one hospital psychiatric ward. His last known address is a motel in Gowanus, Brooklyn, used to house homeless people.
Lopez has four previous arrests, two of them for assault and criminal contempt against his father, cops said.
Lopez asked his dad — who is in his 70s — for drug money on Sept. 30, 2019, and hit him in the knee with a wooden stick when he refused, according to police. He returned to his father a week later on Oct. 5, and again harassed him for money, police say.
The dad obtained an order of protection against his own son.
Lopez was arrested later that fall on Nov. 14 for allegedly assaulting an officer, also with a wooden stick. The cop was responding to a call from someone, not believed to be his dad, who had an order of protection against Lopez.
His most recent arrest was last October, when he was spotted walking around Washington Heights with a long kitchen knife, according to cops. When he was arrested he had 48 bags of cocaine with plans to sell them, police said.
Upsurge of stabbings against homeless victims
The four attacks — all within 24 hours on the A line — amounted to an alarming surge in the recent spate of violence in the subways, and underscored the vulnerability of the hundreds of homeless people who shelter in the transit system.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an uptick in violent incidents inside the largely desolate subway stations as ridership has plummeted due to fears of getting infected.
According to the most recent statistics, crime in the transit system in January 2021 was down more than 50 percent from January 2020, but subway ridership was down about 70 percent during that time, making crime that occurs there stand out.