NEW YORK (AP) — It apparently began, police said, when a 23-year-old graffiti artist asked his mother if he could drive her Lexus. She said no.
The ensuing fight between them escalated into a bloody 28-hour rampage across New York as the man — armed with five knives — fatally stabbed his stepfather, his ex-girlfriend and her mother; ran down a pedestrian in a stolen car; and slashed and wounded four other people before being arrested in a Times Square subway station, police said.
Maksim Gelman had a bloodied kitchen knife when he was taken into police custody at about 9 a.m. Saturday after a nightlong manhunt, police said.
“It’s so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this,” said police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who held up a photo of the knife that he said Mr. Gelman had used to slash a subway rider on the head and neck before he was apprehended. The man survived.
“I don’t recall seeing anything like this,” said Commissioner Kelly, who has spent decades working for the New York Police Department.
He said charges were pending against Mr. Gelman.
The stabbing spree started just after 5 a.m. Friday, when police say Mr. Gelman fatally knifed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, at their apartment in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. Mr. Gelman had gotten into a fight with his mother after she refused to allow him to use her Lexus, and Mr. Kuznetsov intervened and was attacked, Commissioner Kelly said.
Police found the 54-year-old man’s body at his home in the predominantly Eastern European immigrant neighborhood. The Ukrainian-born Mr. Gelman and his mother became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2004 or 2005, respectively, Commissioner Kelly said.
At about 10:30 a.m., several blocks away, Mr. Gelman entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab her mother, 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko, Commissioner Kelly said. When 20-year-old Yelena Bulchenko arrived home at about 4 p.m., she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called 911, police said.
Mr. Gelman then sped away in the Lexus to Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood, rear-ending a Pontiac. The driver confronted Mr. Gelman and was stabbed three times in the chest but survived and was in stable condition, Commissioner Kelly said.
Mr. Gelman drove off in the Pontiac, hitting 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who died of his injuries, police said. Mr. Gelman later abandoned the car, engine running, in the driveway of a private house in Midwood, not far from a freight railroad line “Gelman frequented as a graffiti artist,” Commissioner Kelly said.
Mr. Gelman was not spotted again until just before 1 a.m. Saturday, when he confronted a livery cab driver in the Crown Heights area and stabbed him, Commissioner Kelly said. Shortly after, he approached a couple in a Nissan, stabbing the man multiple times in the hand before hijacking the car, police said. Both men survived.
Just after 8 a.m. Saturday, passengers on a southbound No. 1 train in upper Manhattan noticed that a man on the train matched photos of Gelman they had seen in newspapers.
One passenger on the train got off at West 96th Street, approached officers on the platform and told them that a man fitting Mr. Gelman’s description knocked a newspaper out of her hand, saying, “Do you believe what they’re writing about me?” Commissioner Kelly said.