BOSTON – A member of a fishing boat crew attacked his fellow crew members at sea with a knife and a hammer, killing one of them, federal prosecutors said.
Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, was charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the attack Sunday on the Virginia-based fishing vessel Captain Billy Haver about 55 miles off Nantucket, Massachusetts, the U.S. attorney's office for Boston said in a statement.
Vazquez will appear in federal court in Boston at a time to be determined. The Associated Press could not locate a lawyer for him Tuesday.
He assaulted three crew members with a knife in one hand and a hammer in the other, authorities said.
One victim saw another crew member on the deck with blood coming out of his mouth, and Vazquez then struck a third colleague with the hammer before he was chased up the mast in an attempt to avoid capture, authorities said.
The captain of the seven-member crew placed a call on the distress channel, and the German cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 responded, taking two injured fishermen on board, prosecutors said.
One had a visible wound to the head and stab wounds to the torso, and the ship's doctor pronounced that crew member dead.
Vazquez is a Mexican citizen and had been living in the U.S. illegally, prosecutors said.
He had been arrested in March in Newport News, Virginia, on an abduction charge.
After local police released him at the time to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an immigration judge granted Vazquez bond over ICE objections and he was released, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.
"ICE is closely monitoring his case to determine next steps to ensure he no longer poses a public safety threat," the agency said in a statement.
Authorities did not say what sparked the attacks, but Vazquez's mother-in-law blamed drug addiction.
Lindsay McDannold told WCVB-TV that Vazquez is a heroin addict. She thinks "that's probably what precipitated this issue."
The Seaford, Virginia-based Captain Billy Haver has been impounded by the Coast Guard in Boston.