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Grafitti artist kills four in New York knife spree

A graffiti artist armed with five knives went on a 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 wounding four other people before being arrested in Times Square.

Police said that Maksim Gelman, 23, was armed with a bloodied kitchen knife when he was taken into police custody at 9am on Saturday. "It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason to know why he did this," said police commissioner Raymond Kelly. "I don't recall seeing anything like this."

The stabbing spree started just after 5am on Friday when Gelman stabbed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, at their apartment in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighbourhood, police said. Several blocks away, at 10:30am, the Ukrainian-born Gelman entered the home of his ex-girlfriend and used a kitchen knife to fatally stab her mother, Anna Bulchenko, 56. When his girlfriend, Yelena Bulchenko, 20, arrived home at 4 pm, she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called the police. Gelman was apparently still in the house, and chased Ms Bulchenko as she fled outside, stabbing her 11 times.

Gelman then drove away, hitting another car. The driver confronted him and was stabbed three times in the chest but survived. Gelman drove off, hitting pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, 62, who died of his injuries. He abandoned the car, and was not seen again until just before 1am Saturday when he stabbed a cab driver. Shortly afterwards, he approached a couple in a Nissan, stabbing the man several times in the hand before hijacking their car.

Just after 8am on Saturday, subway passengers noticed that a man on the train matched photos of Gelman in newspapers. One passenger got off and told police officers. Gelman changed trains and stabbed another passenger. Officers were in the driver's compartment 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". One of the officers threw open the door and wrestled Gelman to the ground, knocking the knife from his hand, and arrested him.