New York City police made an arrest on Wednesday morning in connection with the stabbings of three homeless people, including one man who ultimately died, in Manhattan earlier this month, authorities told Fox News Digital.
The man, 40-year-old Trevon Murphy, was arrested after a retired corrections officer recognized him sitting at a bus stop in Upper Manhattan and called the police, authorities said Wednesday. New York Police Department (NYPD) officials said Tuesday they were looking for an adult man who targeted the homeless victims while they were sleeping in three separate incidents over the course of six days.
"These are senseless acts on defenseless people experiencing homelessness," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters on Tuesday.
Less than 24 hours later, Sewell was back at the podium announcing Murphy's capture. Murphy, who is also homeless, was charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault, police said.
Murphy had already been convicted in Tennessee, but violated probation and was wanted on a related outstanding warrant, Sewell said. He was also released after allegedly attacking a roommate in Queens, and was due back in court on July 22.
"]This suspect should not have been on our streets," Sewell said Wednesday. She later added: "This man was preying on the vulnerable, and we are thankful for the combined effort to apprehend this subject quickly and safely.
Police later released the image showing the knife believed to have been used in all three attacks. Investigators are still working to determine a motive.
In the first incident, which occurred at 3:10 a.m. on July 5, the 34-year-old victim was sleeping on a bench in the area of West Street and Christopher Street in the West Village when he "awoke to pain in his stomach," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig told reporters.
He then got up and crossed the street, where a passerby called 911. The victim was taken to an area hospital, but could not be saved.
Essig described how the attacker is believed to have been wearing a black sweatshirt emblazoned with the words "Innocence Project," and "bright neon sneakers." Police suspect he approached the victim, picked up the man’s CitiBike and rode it "around the block" before returning and stabbing him, Essig said. He then allegedly made off which the victim’s black backpack, which police later recovered.
Video from around the time of the attack shows the man calmly riding the bicycle as he appears to look around. Police said they have no reason to believe the man is linked to the Innocence Project organization.
Three days later, around 10 p.m. on July 8, the 59-year-old victim was stabbed in the area of Madison Avenue and East 49th Street, police said.
"This incident, caught on video, shows the perpetrator sitting on a bench for approximately 30 minutes while our victim is sleeping along the building line," Essig said. "The perpetrator then puts on a Covid mask, walks over and stabs our victim one time."
He was believed to have been wearing a black t-shirt, black pants and bright neon sneakers at the time.
On July 11, a person wearing the same "Innocence Project" sweatshirt and neon sneakers attacked a third victim around 3:39 a.m. at a park in the area of 9595 FDR Drive, police said.
"Our victim here is lying on the ground in the basketball court on his clothes," Essig said. "He states he felt a punch in his side."
The victims in the second and third incidents were expected to survive their attacks.
Police are asking anyone with information related to the incidents to call 800-577-TIPS.
Fox News' Marta Dhanis contributed to this report.