Wednesday, police arrested 33 year-old Elias Abuelazam as he boarded a plane bound for Tel Aviv. They say he's the serial killer who attacked and stabbed nearly 20 victims, most in Michigan. Below, what we know about him so far.
- Abuelazam is an Israeli-born Christian. His mother reportedly still lives in Ramlah, Israel; his father is dead.
- He's twice married and twice divorced. He lived for a time in Virginia while married, but "bounced between Loudoun County (VA), Michigan, Florida and Israel" after getting divorced for the last time in 2007.
- As recently as 2008, he worked for a mental health facility in Virginia that treats "youths and teens who are sex offenders or have other behavioral problems." More recently, he worked at a liquor store in Michigan.
Abuelazam has had several minor run-ins with police (on both sides of the law). He had a fraud charge in California in 1995, and served a month in jail in 2008 for "lying on a handgun permit application." In Florida last April, he "reported to the sheriff's office that someone had stolen his Nintendo Wii gaming system." He had a misdemeanor assault warrant in Virginia. And just last week, Abuelazam was pulled over in Virginia for a traffic stop. After seeing a judge about his outstanding warrant, police say he went and stabbed a man that very morning (and later hit another with a hammer).
- Everyone who knew him has expressed shock. "I'm shocked," said his ex-wife. "My whole family is shocked," said his ex-father-in-law. "He was just the sweetest guy," said his former mother-in-law. "I really didn't know that side of him. He seemed like a caring guy to me," said a former co-worker. "They framed him. He's not like that. No way," said a former neighbor. Etc.
- Abuelazam's total tally of carnage, according to police: starting in May, he stabbed five men to death; injured 12 others in knife attacks; and hit one with a hammer, across three states. All but two of the victims were black men.
[Photos via AP]