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Serial stabbing suspect revealed instances of violence and paranoia, friends say
In Ramla, a gritty, Jewish-Arab town between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the family home was shuttered Friday. Neighbors said Abuelazam, an Israeli Arab, was raised in a Greek Orthodox Christian family. His late father owned a grocery store, and his mother had a small sewing shop at home.
"He was really a good kid," said Bahjat Dasouki, who lives next door to the family.
When he was in 11th grade, his mother brought him to the United States to live with relatives. Some neighbors said his family worried that he had become caught up in the local drug scene and wanted to give him a fresh start. But a cousin, also named Elias Abuelazam, disputed that, saying his cousin was attracted to the United States, enjoyed living here and chose to stay. Police said he was in the country legally.
Sami Abu Muammar, another neighbor, said that during the suspect's last visit to Israel, Abuelazam stabbed a man. Ziyad Shahin was knifed in the neck at a sweets shop, "the matter was settled between them, and they didn't go to the police," Abu Muammar added.
Abuelazam's attorney, Edwar Zeineh, who is working with another Michigan lawyer, Brian Morley, said his client is scared. He said he and Abuelazam have met but haven't talked about the allegations.
Antwione Marshall, 26, one of the men police think Abuelazam attacked, said his assailant never said a threatening word.
It was about 3 a.m. on July 27 when Marshall was walking home from a Flint gas station after a cigarette run and saw a dark-green sport-utility vehicle slowly pass, then turn and pull over. The driver, a big man wearing a baseball cap, asked for help popping the hood. Marshall tried to help.
"I said, 'The hood ain't going to pop.' That's when he got to stabbing me," Marshall said. "He didn't say nothing, he did it so quick. I looked down, and I saw some blood and started backing up."
Marshall fell to the ground. The man looked back, then drove off. "I guess he thought I was dead," Marshall said. "I was laying on the ground, and I thought he was going to rob me. When he didn't, it kind of blew my mind."
Special correspondent Joel Greenberg in Ramla and staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.