Stabbing Suspect Arrested, Flint Residents React

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The suspect at the center of 20 different attacks in three different states is behind bars.

Police arrested Elias Abuelazam at Atlanta' Hartsfield Airport airport while he was trying to board a flight from Atlanta, Ga. to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Abuelazam is an Israeli citizen and was apparently fleeing to his homeland when he was apprehended. He has refused extradition to Michigan, where most of the attacks occurred.

During the last four months, Abuelazam may have stabbed at least 18 people, killing five of them. Authorities believe his motive may have been racial as 15 of the 18 victims were black.

"He selected victims based on the color of their skin," said Leesburg, Va. Police Chief Joseph Price

Law enforcement authorities said Abuelazam lured his victims in Virginia, Ohio and Michigan all the same way.

"He drives up. He either asks for directions or he said his car is not working right and he lures the suspect in and then the stabbings occur," said Genessee County, Mich. prosecutor David Leyton

"He was walking around the truck at first like he was looking for something and then he came back to the front of the truck with me and he was on the left side and that's when he got to stabbing me and I played like I was dead," said stabbing victim Antwoine Marshall.

When police showed Marshall the suspect's photo on Wednesday, he had no doubt authorities were on the right track.

"And when I saw him I knew he was the one," Marshall said. "There were no if, ands, or buts about it. I knew who he was."

"I ask myself and I ask God, 'Why?'" said Etwan Wilson, another of Abuelazam's victims.

"I've never hurt so much in my whole life. I've never come so close to death," said Richard Booker, another victim.

Fifteen of the stabbings occurred in Flint, Mich., which terrorized the city.

"I'm scared for my kids," said Flint resident Lisa LaFrance. "I'm ready to move. I'm not going to lie, I'm ready to go."

However, customers at Flint's Kingwater Market where the suspect worked have had a hard time believing he's the killer or race was his motive.

"Out here, we didn't have no problem with him," said Monica Butler, a store customer. "That's why it's not understandable, because he was out here with all of us."

"He was a good guy," said market manager Abdullah Farah. "I mean, all my employees, we never thought about this guy. He was a friendly guy. He was a nice guy. He just threw us off."

But the manager's ready to see the worst punishment for Abuelazam if he is found guilty.

"If it's him, he should be hanged," Farah said.

"It was shocking to know he was right here up under our nose," Butler said.

And just as customers and the staff at the Kingwater Market were surprised, so was Jim Hirth, Abuelazam's former father-in-law.

"Very much so, my whole family's shocked," Hirth said. "This is, you know, something that you don't have happen to you every single day."

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.