LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles police arrested a 19-year-old homeless man on Wednesday on suspicion he is the “slasher” who has cut the faces of at least nine people, seemingly at random, as he rode through the city on a bicycle, police said.
An unknown suspect, last seen riding a black and green mountain bike, who Los Angeles Police Department say is responsible for slashing victims as he rode his bicycle, is seen in this combination image released by LAPD in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on April 3, 2019. Courtesy LAPD/Handout via REUTERS
Police said the man was detained on suspicion of attempted murder.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles police was not immediately available to discuss the case late Wednesday and the Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Department, which runs the jail, had no information.
Police released images of the man they believe to have been the slasher on Tuesday in an appeal to the public to help find him.
Investigators said it was not clear what prompted the attacks across south Los Angeles and surrounding communities or even what he was using for a weapon.
“For no reason at all he would strike the victims across the face holding something sharp in his hand. Then he would ride away,” Lieutenant Paul Patterson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the Los Angeles Times.
The latest two attacks took place on Monday, the LAPD said in a statement, when officers responding to a radio call around 8:40 p.m. found a man suffering from a severe wound to the left side of his face.
About 15 minutes later, a young woman was slashed nearby.
“He just came in back of me and hit me,” Stefany Coboz told local KNBC-TV, displaying a stitched and bandaged wound in her neck that she said would leave permanent scarring. “I just started looking at him, he looked back, I grabbed myself full of blood.”
Coboz said her assailant did not speak to her but laughed as he rode away.
The string of attacks began on March 20, when a male victim was severely injured by the slasher around 7:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
A second victim suffered a cut to the face shortly after 11 a.m. on March 27 in the Los Angeles suburb of South Gate, according to police officials.
The victims ranged in age from 13 to 85 years old, police reported, and the suspect struck in broad daylight.
It was unclear Wednesday if the man had an attorney.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Peter Cooney and Michael Perry