KEY POINTS

  • Rigoberto Lopez, 21, has been arrested and charged with the stabbings
  • Police are working to determine if the same person is behind the four separate stabbings, two of which were deadly
  • NYPD will deploy an additional police force consisting of 500 officers to patrol the subway transit route

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has arrested a suspect in connection with the series of stabbings that killed two homeless people and injured two others over the weekend.

The assailant, Rigoberto Lopez, 21, has now been charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, authorities said in a statement via Twitter.

Authorities were informed about the first stabbing on Friday at a subway station in Queens at around 11:20 a.m. ET. A 67-year-old male victim was found to have sustained multiple stab wounds. He was taken to the hospital for treatment, authorities had said at a news conference live-streamed via Twitter Saturday afternoon.

Police received reports about the second stabbing at around 11:30 p.m. ET at the Far Rockaway station. Responding authorities found a man on the train with stab wounds on his neck and body. The 44-year-old female victim was declared dead at the scene.

The third stabbing took place in 207th Street station in upper Manhattan. An employee with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority found a 44-year-old homeless woman unconscious on a train. The victim had suffered multiple stab wounds. She later died at a hospital, ABC News had reported.

The fourth stabbing incident occurred at the West 181st Street station in Manhattan. A 43-year-old man was stabbed shortly before 1:30 a.m. ET Saturday. After undergoing surgery, he was listed in a stable condition.

Police were working to determine if Lopez was behind all four stabbings. Meanwhile, the NYPD has deployed an additional police force of 500 officials to patrol the transit system above and below ground, ABC News reported, citing NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Authorities said Lopez appeared to be homeless and was wearing the same clothing seen on surveillance footage and still had a knife in possession when police detained him.

Eric Adams, Brooklyn's borough president, told NBC News that the assailants who carry out such rampage likely struggle with "severe mental illness."

"The perpetrators of this violence are often struggling with some form of severe mental illness, and their targets are frequently some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including our homeless neighbors who seek out the subway system as a refuge during the winter months," NBC News quoted Adams, as saying.

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