NEW YORK – A graffiti artist armed with five knives went on a bloody 28-hour rampage across New York City, fatally stabbing his stepfather, ex-girlfriend and her mother, running down a pedestrian with a stolen Lexus and knifing a subway passenger before being arrested in Times Square, police said.
Maksim Gelman, 23, was armed with a bloodied kitchen knife when he was taken into police custody at about 9 a.m. Saturday after a nightlong manhunt from Brooklyn into Manhattan, police said.
“It’s so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this,” said police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Kelly said charges were pending against Gelman.
The stabbing spree started just after 5 a.m. Friday, when police say Gelman fatally knifed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, at their apartment in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. Gelman had gotten into a fight with his mother after she refused to allow him to use her Lexus, and Kuznetsov intervened and was attacked, Kelly said.
Police found the 54-year-old man’s body at his home in the predominantly Eastern European immigrant neighborhood. The Ukrainian-born Gelman and his mother became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2004 or 2005, Kelly said.
At about 10:30 a.m., several blocks away, Gelman entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab her mother, 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko, 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.
Gelman apparently was still in the house, chasing Bulchenko as she fled outside and stabbing her 11 times as she died, Kelly said.
He then sped away in the Lexus to Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood, rear-ending a Pontiac. The driver confronted Gelman and was stabbed three times in the chest but survived, Kelly said.
Gelman drove off in the Pontiac, hitting 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who died of the injuries, police said. He later abandoned the car.
Gelman was not seen again until just before 1 a.m. Saturday, when he confronted a livery cab driver in the Crown Heights area and stabbed him, 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 Gelman’s description knocked a newspaper out of her hand, saying, “Do you believe what they’re writing about me?” Kelly said.
Gelman jumped off the train at the West 34th Street station, crossed the tracks and hopped on a northbound No. 3 train, where he stabbed a passenger, the commissioner said.
Officers were in the driver’s compartment of the train after hearing reports that Gelman might be on board. Gelman made his way up to the driver’s door and pounded on it, “claiming that he was the police,” Kelly said.
One of the officers threw open the door and wrestled Gelman to the ground, knocking the knife from his hand, Kelly said.