NEW YORK – A homeless man was arrested Wednesday in the stabbing of four people, including three tourists, who were attacked in a 12-hour span in Manhattan.
Investigators were questioning the 21-year-old man but did not have a motive.
Two of the four victims were stabbed near a Times Square hotel; the others were attacked inside the subway system. Three were hospitalized, and police said they were expected to survive.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said the suspect admitted stabbing two Canadians, a Mexican immigrant and a young man from Texas.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there was no evidence to suggest the man was targeting tourists. He said investigators recovered the folding knife used in at least two of the attacks when they arrested the suspect.
Charges were pending against Kenny Alexis, who had been living in a shelter.
Police said two Canadian women were each stabbed in the back about 4 a.m. by a man who had engaged them in a short conversation near the W Hotel.
Two hotel security officers tended to the women and called 911, while two doormen followed the man to a nearby McDonald's. Officers nabbed the suspect as he was leaving the restaurant, police said.
An hour earlier, a 30-year-old man was stabbed twice in the stomach a few blocks away as he and a friend waited on a subway platform in Rockefeller Center. Police said the attacker was after a cell phone.
On Tuesday afternoon, Christopher McCarthy of Houston was knifed by a man sitting across from him in a subway car on Manhattan's Upper West Side, an attack police said was random and apparently unprovoked.
McCarthy was in critical but stable condition after barely surviving the deep wound to his chest, doctors said. His father, Joe, said his son had forgiven the assailant and hopes the attacker "can get help."
Alexis also wielded the knife when a store employee confronted him about stealing two beers from a market Wednesday, the commissioner said. No one was hurt in that incident.
Despite the attacks, some tourists said New York still feels safe.
"There are a lot of police around. I don't think these stabbings are just random acts," said Scott McCoig, 24, of Detroit.
McCoig said he will still use the subway. "It's the best way to travel," he said.
The attacks drew comparisons with the 1990 killing of a 22-year-old tourist from Utah who was stabbed in a subway station while defending his mother during a robbery. Seven youths were convicted in the murder; all were sentenced to maximum terms of 25 years to life in prison.