Police on Saturday busted a knife-wielding homeless killer suspected of savagely executing two helpless victims and wounding two more as he carved a gory path in a 14-hour subway stabbing spree on the A train line from Manhattan to Queens, law enforcement sources said.
Cops also recovered the knife believed used in the attacks, and the suspect was taken into custody with dried blood on his clothes, the sources said.
When he was nabbed and taken to the 34th Precinct in upper Manhattan, the suspect was clad in layers of clothes and a winter coat, and wore high-top sneakers, said the sources.
Police had pressed a desperate search for the suspect in the gruesome and unprovoked attacks on a quartet of homeless victims. “There is small army of detectives and investigators working all this night throughout New York City,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Saturday afternoon.
Already the NYPD had deployed 500 additional cops to patrol in and above the subways in response to a series of terrifying attacks on straphangers.
Crime scene photos obtained by the Daily News of the spree killer’s carnage showed a male victim, his blood running red across his seat and the floor of the subway car, sprawled lifelessly inside a train at the Far Rockaway/Mott Ave. station in Queens, near the southern end of the A line.
The second murder victim, a 44-year-old woman found with her clothes soaked in blood, was discovered beneath a seat on a train in the Inwood/207th St. station, the A line’s northern terminus. She was stabbed repeatedly in the abdomen, chest, arm and leg, sources said.
Two more fortunate victims escaped with their lives after they were attacked hours apart inside the 181st St./Fort Washington Ave. station in upper Manhattan’s Hudson Heights neighborhood.
The first surviving victim at the 181st St. station was a 67-year-old man who was attacked as he sat on his walker on the subway platform around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
“I’m going to kill you!” the homicidal madman announced as he jabbed the man with a knife in the right knee and buttocks before fleeing, said sources.
The suspect’s next victim, a 40-year-old man, was found dead inside a blood-spattered A train idling at the Mott Ave./Far Rockaway station in Queens at 11:19 p.m. Friday. He had been stabbed numerous times in the neck and chest, and a witness reported the grisly killing to the booth clerk, cops said.
The third victim, a woman, was found by MTA police about two hours later early Saturday beneath the seats of another A train at the Inwood/207th St. station at the line’s northern terminus.
She was also knifed multiple times times across her body, and died about an hour after she was found at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, cops said.
he fourth victim and the second survivor was a 43-year-old man who was attacked back at the 181st St./Fort Washington Ave. station around 1:28 a.m. Saturday as he slept on station steps, said cops.
The suspect stabbed the snoozing man four times in the back just below his neck, sources said.
The stabbing victim made his way up to the street and staggered to the ATM vestibule of a Chase bank on W. 181st St. near Broadway, where he encountered security guard Luis Pillasagua, 21.
“He fell to his knees, and then that’s when I went to check if everything was all right,” said Pillasagua, who lives in Bedford Park, the Bronx.
illasagua went outside the vestibule, and the man spoke to him. “He told me that he had been stabbed,” the security guard said.
Pillasagua called 911. He didn’t see any blood until cops arrived and opened up the man’s jacket to check if he was bleeding. “That’s when they discovered that he had been stabbed multiple times in the back,” Pillasagua said.
“The homeless guy said that he was attacked on the subway, on the A train … I wish I could’ve gotten a better look at his face,” said Pillasagua. “I think he might have been like a homeless guy that frequented the area. I think I might have seen him before.”
A part of me thinks that maybe he came to the bank because he knew that there was a guard there.”
Cops said there were cameras at the carnage scenes, but acknowledged little information was gleaned about the suspect in the early part of the investigation.
The bloody stabbings drew an immediate and angry response from subway officials, subway riders and Transport Workers Union Local 100.
“The recent horrifying attacks in the subway system are outrageous and unacceptable,” NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg and Local 100 President Tony Utano said Saturday in a joint statement.“Every customer, and each of our brave, heroic transit workers, deserve a safe and secure transit system.”
Feinberg and Utano called for an immediate increase of police to the sprawling mass transit system after the latest in a rash of violent incidents plaguing city subways in recent weeks.
On Thursday night, construction worker Gino Delacruz-Rodriguez was stabbed in the stomach during an unprovoked attack as he and his girlfriend waited for a train at the Christopher St. station in the West Village. Delacruz-Rodriguez was escorting his girlfriend Julia Calel home.
“Honestly, no one finds the subway stations safe any more,” Calel told the News on Saturday. “It’s just not safe. There needs to be more security, more police … more cameras.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams noted much subway crime is linked to people struggling with mental illness.
“It’s clear that the city’s current approach to subway safety is failing,” he said. “As this recent rash of violent subway crimes shows, far too many people aren’t getting the mental health treatment they need.”