By Roberto Acosta
810-452-2645 • firstname.lastname@example.org
GENESEE COUNTY — Authorities in Atlanta, Georgia are holding a man in custody presumed to be the attacker responsible for 18 stabbing incidents, including 14 incidents and five homicides in and around the Flint area, three vicitms in Leesburg, Virginia and one in Toledo, Ohio.
Elias Abuelazam, 33, was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 10 p.m. Wednesday night at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
A statement from Michigan State Police in Filnt stated the man had not boarded his plane, reportedly headed to Tel Aviv, Isreal, prior to being taken into custody by law enforcement officials, and he offered no resistance.
State police received an anonymous tip on Wednesday providing information on a possible match to a sketch released by police on Aug. 5. A task force, including City of Flint and Michigan State Police investigators, tracked the lead to the airport in Atlanta. Authorities from Michigan have flown to Atlanta to continue the investigation.
“While this is a key step in the investigation, there are still many issues that need to be addressed before we identify this individual as the person responsible for this horrific crime spree,” reads a statement from Leesburg Police spokesperson Chris Jones on the department’s website. “All agencies and investigators continue to work closely to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion.”
A vehicle closely matching the description given out by police has been seized by authorities and is being processed by State Police Crime Lab technicians from the Bridgeport State Police Crime Lab. Police are also searching for evidence in connection with the case at two residences in the Flint area.
Police believe the man may have worked at Kingwater Market in Beecher after reviewing video tape at the shop and receiving information from the owner that an employee’s vehicle matched the description of the one given by victims to authorities, according to several published reports.
A toll-free tipline set up by Michigan State Police at 1-866-246-9500 remains open for any possible information on assaults that may not have been reported or identified.