A man armed with five knives went on a bloody 28-hour rampage across New York City, slashing to death his stepfather, ex-girlfriend and her mother, fatally running down a pedestrian in a stolen car, and knifing four others including a subway passenger before being arrested in Times Square, police said.
Maksim Gelman, 23, was armed with a bloodied kitchen knife when he was taken into police custody about 9 a.m. Saturday after a nightlong manhunt across the city.
"It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at a news conference. Kelly held up a photo of the knife that he said Gelman had used to slash the rider on the head and neck.
That rider was in stable condition Saturday at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
The stabbing spree started just after 5 a.m. Friday, when, police say, Gelman fatally knifed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, at their apartment in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood.
Gelman, a Ukranian-born graffiti artist, had gotten into a fight with his mother after she refused to allow him to use her Lexus, and Kuznetsov, 54, intervened and was attacked, Kelly said.
Police found the man's body at his home in the predominantly Eastern European immigrant neighborhood.
Gelman's relatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Gelman and his mother became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2004 or 2005, Kelly said.
About 10:30 a.m., several blocks away, Gelman entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab her mother, Anna Bulchenko, 56, Kelly said. When Yelena Bulchenko, 20, arrived home about 4 p.m., she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called 911, police said.
Gelman apparently was still in the house. He chased Bulchenko as she fled outside and stabbed her to death, Kelly said. He then drove away in the Lexus to Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood, rear-ending a Pontiac. The driver confronted Gelman and was stabbed three times in the chest but survived and was in stable condition, Kelly said.
Gelman drove off, hitting pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, 62, who died of the injuries, police said.
Gelman was not seen again until just before 1 a.m. Saturday, when he confronted a livery cab driver and stabbed him, Kelly said. Shortly after, he approached a couple in a Nissan, stabbing the man multiple times before hijacking the car, police said. Both men survived.
Just after 8 a.m. yesterday, passengers on a southbound No. 1 train in upper Manhattan noticed that a man on the train matched newspaper photos of Gelman. One passenger got off at 96th Street, approached officers on the platform and told them that a man fitting Gelman's description knocked a newspaper out of her hand, saying, "Do you believe what they're writing about me?" Kelly said.
Gelman got off at the West 34th Street station and crossed the tracks to a northbound No. 3 train, where he stabbed a passenger, the commissioner said.
Officers were in the driver's compartment of the train after hearing reports that Gelman might be on board.
Gelman made his way up to the driver's door and pounded on it, "claiming that he was the police," Kelly said.
One of the officers threw open the door and wrestled Gelman to the ground, knocking the knife from his hand, Kelly said. He was taken into custody from the train at Times Square.
Kelly said Gelman has 10 previous arrests, mostly linked to graffiti and drugs.
The commissioner said the suspect's statements to police were "pretty incoherent" - including one in which he stated that "she had to die." Kelly said he wasn't sure if that was a reference to the ex-girlfriend or someone else.