Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Elias Abuelazam: The Multi-State Serial Stabber

Unclear Motive

Out of 16 attacks believed carried out by the killer in Flint, only two of the victims were described as white. According to Chief Lock, the stabber did not rob his victims, leaving investigators with no clear motive for the attacks.

Alvern Lock
Alvern Lock

"We are still trying to nail that down in particular," Lock told AOL News. "But we are trying to be responsive to the community and warn the community while we are still gathering that information and putting it together."

Lock would not provide an opinion on whether he or his investigators believe the perpetrator was selecting his victims based on race, and would only characterize the victims as "vulnerable citizens." Despite the difficulties of the case, Lock told AOL News that he remained hopeful that the case would be solved "real soon," and urged residents to be extra cautious in the meantime.

"We just ask them to be careful," Lock said. "When they are out by themselves at night and someone wants some help or some information from them, be wary of those individuals and try not to be by themselves."

Many of the surviving victims provided police with similar descriptions of their attacker: a white male, between five feet, eleven inches, and six feet, two inches in height, 180-210 pounds, with light-colored hair, a goatee and a muscular build. He was also said to have big feet. A number of witnesses told the police that the suspect had been driving a dark green Chevy Blazer with tan trim; their descriptions suggested the model year to be between 1995 and 2004. Two of the surviving victims helped Michigan State Police create a sketch of the suspect in which he was depicted as wearing a baseball cap.

Sketch of suspect
Sketch of suspect

Meanwhile, the NAACP told The Detroit News that it was concerned about the manner in which the case had been handled, and was particularly alarmed that police had not made the attacks public until August 3, 2010.

"Why didn't we know about it?" Frances Gilcreast, president of the Flint branch of the NAACP, asked a reporter. "We didn't know there was anybody out there stabbing black folk. If it had been in another community, and it had been vice versa, they would have alerted them."

Some of the Flint victims said they would have exercised more caution if they had known that a serial killer was in their midst. The police responded that there was little early in the attacks to suggest anything other than the unconnected occurrence of street violence in Flint, a city plagued by unemployment and hard economic times.

Robert Keppel
Robert Keppel

Profiler Robert Keppel, a retired Washington state homicide detective involved in tracking the Green River Killer and serial killer Ted Bundy, recently said that he believes the serial stabber stalked and attacked his victims simply for the thrill of it, and that other attacks likely had been committed by the perpetrator prior to the Flint stabbings.

"He's got a bunch of them," Keppel said. "You're going to be trying to track him down in his travels, and probably every place he's been he's attacked someone."

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