Detectives booked a homeless Brooklyn man on murder charges Sunday in connection with two deadly stabbings along the A line in Queens and Manhattan, police sources said.
Rigoberto Lopez, 21, who lived at a shelter on Butler Street in Boerum Hill, was charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as two counts of attempted murder.
The individual was picked up Saturday night and is being interrogated regarding the two fatal attacks as well as two other non-fatal stabbings that occurred near the 181st Street station in Washington Heights between Feb. 12-13.
Lopez was arrested in the confines of the 34th Precinct, based in Washington Heights.
“Within 24 hours, Rigoberto Lopez was apprehended for stabbing four people in separate incidents occurring on the A Train, which left two dead and two with serious injuries,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison tweeted Sunday. “Excellent work done by investigators assigned to the Gun Violence Suppression Division, Manhattan North, Manhattan North Homicide, Manhattan Robbery, Bronx Robbery, and the Transit Bureau for quickly identifying Lopez, who was wanted for these heinous acts.”
Harrison gave kudos to the work of two neighborhood coordination officers assigned to the 34th Precinct, Sergeant Douglas Perez and Officer Daniel Boylan, for apprehending Lopez.
The NYPD also tweeted out a photo of the knife found on Lopez during his arrest.
During a Saturday afternoon press conference at One Police Plaza, ranking NYPD members indicated the four attacks between Feb. 12-13 may be connected. The incidents prompted Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to order an immediate boost in NYPD patrols throughout the entire subway system.
On Sunday, both Shea and acting New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg hailed Lopez’s arrest.
ARRESTED: Rigoberto Lopez has been arrested, & charged by @ManhattanDA in the ongoing investigation into the recent homicides & assaults on the “A” train subway line.
My thanks to everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/HcLQeWZrSE
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) February 14, 2021
“We are incredibly grateful to the NYPD for its aggressive, comprehensive and rapid investigation of what occurred on the A line this weekend,” Feinberg said. “Incidents like these are tragic, and make it clear that additional City resources are essential in the transit system – both mental health service and additional policing – so that people who need help get it before putting New Yorkers and our employees at risk for tragedy.”
The two murder victims were discovered on separate A trains at opposite ends of the line — in Far Rockaway, Queens and Inwood, Manhattan — between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
The first victim, an unidentified man, was found stabbed while seated on board A train at the Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway, Queens at about 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 12.
Officers from the NYPD Transit District 23 and the 101st Precinct discovered the man on a bench inside one of the train cars with stab wounds to his torso and neck.
Responding EMS units pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
Two hours later, cops in Manhattan responded to the fatal stabbing of a woman on board an A train that stopped at the West 207th Street in Inwood — the line’s northern terminus — at about 1:21 a.m. on Feb. 13.
The discovery was made during the nightly overnight closure period of the entire subway system, when train cars are disinfected to guard against the spread of COVID-19.
Cops from NYPD Transit District 3 and the 34th Precinct, while responding to a 911 call, found the 44-year-old woman under the seats on board one of the train cars with several stab wounds to her body.
EMS units also pronounced her dead at the scene.