A subway stabber who killed two homeless people and slashed two others during a violent 14-hour spree has been charged with murder after he was arrested while covered in blood.
Rigoberto Lopez, 21, was taken into custody Saturday night at W. 186th St and Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights, according to the New York Daily News.
Police sources said Lopez, who is mentally ill, was charged on Sunday with murder and attempted murder after confessing to all of the attacks.
Lopez was reportedly arrested in Upper Manhattan, just blocks from where the bloody rampage began and taken into custody at the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights.
The fatal stabbings took place on opposite ends of the A subway line, which connects the Inwood section of Upper Manhattan with Rockaway, Queens.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on Saturday that a ‘surge’ of 500 additional cops for the department’s Transit Bureau would be immediately deployed across the city.
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Rigoberto Lopez (pictured), 21, who is mentally ill, was charged on Sunday with murder and attempted murder after confessing to all of the attacks
Lopez is accused of killing two homeless people and slashing two others during a violent 14-hour spree has been charged with murder after he was arrested while covered in blood. Police are seen patrolling a subway station in Brooklyn
During a news conference on Saturday, police told reporters that the violent stabbing spree started at around 11:20am on Friday.
That’s when a 67-year-old man was stabbed by an assailant at the 181st Street A-line subway station.
The victim is expected to survive, according to police.
He told cops that his attacker had shouted ‘I am going to kill you’, before he was stabbed in the right knee and left buttock, New York Post reported.
The next attack took place before midnight, when authorities found a man stabbed to death in his seat on the A train at the Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway, Queens.
The victim died of stab wounds to his neck and torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Just two hours later, a 44-year-old was found unconscious after she was stabbed while riding the A train at the 207th Street Station in Upper Manhattan.
The woman was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Just a few minutes later, a 43-year-old man was randomly stabbed at the A subway station on West 181st Street in Manhattan.
The man was rushed to hospital where he is listed in stable condition.
Police patrol the A line subway train bound to Inwood on Saturday, after NYPD deployed an additional 500 officers into the subway system
Police are seen on the A line subway train bound to Inwood on Saturday looking for the subway slasher
A man was found stabbed to death before midnight on Friday at the Mott Avenue Beach subway station in the Far Rockaway section of Queens – the southernmost tip of the A subway line. The station was closed as police investigate
The slashing spree sparked a massive manhunt and an outcry for safer subways.
Officers were seen patrolling subway stations across the city looking for Lopez before he was arrested.
The NYPD plans to deploy an additional 865 officers to patrol the subway system on Monday.
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.
Transit workers have been demanding that the 24-hour subway schedule be resumed after several reported being assaulted during the overnight hours when trains are shut down for COVID-19 cleanings.
The union representing Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers who operate the city’s public buses and subways are assaulted, harassed, spit upon, and in severe cases nearly killed by assailants in largely empty stations.
In November, the New York Police Department said that it would add around 200 cops on its patrols of subway stations after a series of disturbing incidents.
Noel Quintana, 61, was on a Manhattan subway that was taking him to work in Harlem last Wednesday when an unknown attacker kicked his bag and then whipped out a box cutter and slashed him across the face from ear to ear.
Last Thursday morning, another woman was pushed in front of a train at Union Station in Lower Manhattan.
The woman, in her 40s, miraculously survived by rolling between the tracks as the train passed over her.
Officers with the NYPD patrol the Jay Street Metro Tech station in Brooklyn on Saturday, looking for the suspected subway slasher
Police officer’s patrol the Barclays Center subway station after 500 additional cops were sent to look for a suspected subway slasher
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea addresses the media about the recent crimes within the subway system at NYPD headquarters in New York on Saturday
A suspect, Aditya Vemulapati, was held at the scene by transit workers and is charged with attempted murder, felony assault, and reckless endangerment. His last known address is in Michigan and he is believed to be homeless.
According to the NYPD, there were 16 subway pushing incidents in all of 2019. So far this year, there have been just as many.
On Christmas Eve, Narinder Kumar, 70, an MTA station agent, was pushed onto the subway tracks at the Nassau Avenue G subway stop in Brooklyn at around 3am.
Kumar was lucky to be alive though he suffered a fractured spine and head injuries. Fortunately, he missed the electrified third rail.
The alleged assailant, Jhonathan Martinez, 27, was trying to get onto one of the trains, which are only available for first responders and transit workers during the overnight hours.
Martinez was charged with assault, harassment and reckless endangerment.
On August 5, Reggie Frazier, a father of three who lost his 21-year-old daughter last year to COVID-19, was sweeping up at the Dyckman Street subway stop in the Inwood section of Upper Manhattan at around 2:15am – more than an hour after the last trains stopped running for the day.
‘Yo, man, no trains after 1am,’ Frazier, 61, told a man who wandered into the station, according to THE CITY.
According to Frazier, the man responded: ‘Shut the f*** up, I’ll punch you in the face.’
‘I said, ‘I don’t want to fight you, man, I’m at work’,’ Frazier told The City. ‘But he grabbed a crate and started swinging.’
The man attacked Frazier with a milk crate. As Frazier tried to escape, he tore a tendon in his right knee. Since that day, he has not returned to work.
‘I wasn’t sworn into this job to take beatdowns,’ he said.
The man identified as Frazier’s assailant, 36-year-old Ramon Garrido, was arrested and charged.
Alexander Jaiserie, a 23-year-old MTA train operator, told THE CITY that he and a conductor were assaulted in the early morning hours of July 10 after their empty No. 7 train pulled into the Flushing-Main Street station in Queens.
‘Leaving Willets Point, we heard of a disturbed person causing problems at Flushing Main and a request for police to come to the station,’ he said.
‘So we knew there was somebody causing issues and to be aware of that.’
According to Jaiserie, a man on the platform blocked him and the conduct from leaving the train’s first car.
As they tried to walk between subway cars, the man pounced. He then lunged once again at the two transit workers as they emerged onto the platform.
The man fled and no one has been charged.
Subway crimes are down more than 50 per cent so far in 2021 from the same period last year – but ridership is down roughly 70 per cent in the pandemic, suggesting the crime rate per passenger may have actually increased.