Police say a suspect has been arrested in connection with the stabbings of multiple homeless people in Chicago.
Authorities had been searching for a serial attacker they believe has been stabbing homeless people in the neck while they sleep in the city.
Further details on the arrest weren't immediately released but authorities say charges are pending.
Chicago police issued an alert Thursday after four recent incidents, two of which took place on Michigan Avenue, leaving one man dead, and another which took place at a Chicago Transit Authority Red Line station.
In each case, the suspect approached homeless people while they were asleep and stabbed them in the neck, Chicago police said.
The fatal stabbing happened at 9 a.m. July 9 in the 1100 block of South Michigan Avenue, according to authorities.
Three other attacks were also reported:
- at 1:51 a.m. July 15 on a Red Line train in the 220 block of West 63rd Street
- at 3:51 a.m. July 24 in the 1100 block of South Michigan Avenue
- at 3:26 a.m. Aug. 18 in the first block of West 95th Street
Police said the suspect wore the same hooded sweat jacket in three of the reported incidents, describing it as a red sweatshirt with the words "Aero 1987" on them. He was described as a man, between 5-foot-9 and 6-foot-1 inches tall, with a slender build and a black afro hair style.
"I've been not able to get no sleep or anything ever since I heard," said a homeless man who wished to be identified only as Mellow due to safety concerns. "We'll have to defend ourselves or just be on alert."
Activists have expressed concern, particularly as they brace for the city's homeless population to increase during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We know there's somebody out here targeting unsheltered homeless individuals, but he can't be found, yet we can locate looters who break into stores," said Ali Simmons, a case worker for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. This is an issue that's going to get worse. The number of individuals who are living out here on the street is about to increase as well."
Ald. Carlos Rosa in the 35th Ward called for homeless Chicago residents to be placed in housing to protect them.
"We really need to get serious that housing is a human right," Rosa said, adding that hate crimes against homeless individuals are on the rise, not just in Chicago, but in several cities across the U.S.
"People who are struggling to survive, who are living very rough on the streets have to also be subjected to violence from someone who must have hate in their heart," Rosa said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Area Three detectives at 312-744-8261.