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Police arrest man in connection with stabbings of homeless people in New York City

(NEW YORK) — Treyvon Murphy, a 40-year-old homeless man, was arrested Wednesday in connection with a series of stabbings targeting homeless people in Manhattan, according to the New York City Police Department.

Murphy was spotted by a passerby sitting at a bus stop on 125th Street in Harlem, near St. Nicholas Park, early Wednesday. As police approached him, he started to amble away, but officers caught up with him and he was taken into custody without incident, according to police.

When he was apprehended, the suspect was dressed in the same neon sneakers and gray backpack worn during all three stabbing incidents. He was also wearing a black hoodie with “Innocence Project” written on it, which footage shows he was wearing during two of the three stabbings, police said during a press conference.

Murphy was also in possession of a knife when he was taken into custody and identified himself to investigators in still images related to the attacks, according to police.

“I want to thank the commissioner and her team for apprehending a dangerous person that assaulted our vulnerable New Yorkers. It really highlights how imperative it is to move people into safe spaces, into shelters and eventually into permanent housing,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference Wednesday.

As detectives had suspected, Murphy appeared to be homeless. He provided a last known address of a hotel in Queens that is housing the homeless, according to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

The suspect has a prior drug conviction in Tennessee, for which he was on probation. Officials said he violated that probation and is wanted on an outstanding warrant for that violation. Tennessee will be extraditing the suspect for the active warrant, police said.

Murphy was also released on his own recognizance after stabbing his roommate in Queens in April and was due back in court on July 22, according to Sewell.

“This man was praying on the vulnerable and we are thankful for the combined effort to apprehend this subject quickly and safely,” Sewell said during the press conference.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing and the suspect is being questioned by police. Police have not yet worked out a motive for the attacks and charges have yet to be filed against the man.

The suspect was wanted in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 34-year-old homeless man on July 5 and for the stabbing of two other men experiencing homelessness in the last few days, police said.

A 59-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach in midtown Manhattan on Friday; on Monday, a 28-year-old man was also stabbed in the stomach at a park in the city’s Upper East Side neighborhood. Both men were taken to area hospitals and are in stable condition, police said.

All three men were asleep at the time of the attacks. The NYPD said they have video and photos of the suspected stabber at all three locations near the times of the stabbings, WABC reported.

The 28-year-old victim told authorities that he recognized the suspect, referring to the person as “Delly,” WABC reported.

It’s not yet clear how much the pandemic has impacted the number of unhoused people in the U.S.

ABC News’ Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.

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