A 21-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested Sunday and charged in connection with a series of stabbings in New York City’s subway system that left two dead and another two injured within a 14-hour period.
The announcement comes after the New York Police Department (NYPD) deployed an additional 500 officers Saturday to patrol above and below ground within the subway system Saturday in response to the seemingly unprovoked attacks all happening along the A train.
A police union also used calls for an increased surge in officers to take a jab at City Council, which is pushing a criminal justice reform package aimed at decreasing NYPD’s footprint.
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Rigoberto Lopez, 21, from Butler Street in Brooklyn, has been arrested and was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection to the stabbings along the A line, an NYPD spokesperson confirmed to Fox News on Sunday.
A person of interest had reportedly been taken into custody at West 186th Street and Audubon Avenue in Washington Heights Saturday night for questioning, NY Daily News reported.
The first attack happened shortly before midnight on Friday, when an adult male was pronounced deceased after being stabbed in the neck and torso on the A train. About two hours later in the early hours of Saturday, an unconscious 45-year-old female with multiple stab wounds was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. Both victims were believed to be homeless and were found on opposite ends of the A train line, slumped in pools of blood under the subway seat.
A 67-year-old man and a 43-year-old individual were also stabbed on the A train in the last 24 hours, though their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, authorities said.
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The police union representing NYPD detectives had issued a stern rebuke to City Council for pushing an agenda to decrease the department’s footprint just a day before the additional 500 officers were called in to increase patrols on the New York City subway system.
“Perhaps Council Speaker Johnson should ask NYers if they want more or less police on the streets & in the subways – especially since the tragic murders on the A Line,” Detectives’ Endowment Association tweeted Saturday. “There’s no doubt they want to see more police. It’s time for the politicians to wake up!”
The union shared a local news story reporting that City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday defended a new 11-bill criminal justice package that in part seeks to end qualified immunity for officers.
“These are big bills. It would change the footprint of policing in New York City,” Johnson said in an interview with NY1. “It builds on many of the calls for reform that happened last year after the murder of George Floyd.”
Reforms in the package also include: calling on the state to remove the police commissioner’s exclusive authority over police discipline and send it to an independent body; giving the City Council a greater say over future police commissioners’ actions and requiring the mayor to seek Council approval for appointing a police commissioner; investigating police officers with a history of bias; requiring the NYPD to issue a quarterly report on traffic stops; creating a non-police emergency response unit for mental health calls; reforming the role of school safety officers; requiring reporting on the turnover rate of school safety, and transferring crash investigations to the city transportation department, NY1 reported.
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Fox News’s Paul Best and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.