Suspect arrested in Center City knife attacks

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
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Police have arrested the suspect in a pair of random knife attacks that happened blocks and minutes apart in Center City Philadelphia.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Police have arrested the suspect in a pair of random knife attacks that happened blocks and minutes apart in Center City Philadelphia.

26-year-old Kyle Stephens, whom police describe as homeless, was arrested after 9 a.m. Wednesday at Broad Street and Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia.

Police say Stephens was being loud and disruptive when an Allied Barton security guard recognized him and called 911.

Temple University Police responded and took him to Philadelphia Police Central Detectives.

Temple Police vehicles were parked outside the building after investigators carried in bags of evidence, which contained items belonging to Stephens.

Earlier, police released surveillance video taken shortly before one of the attacks, which happened within 15 minutes of each other early Tuesday morning.

Police say Stephens, armed with a 3-inch knife, attacked two men, ages 23 and 42.

One of them is Joshua McNamara, who told Action News he was walking to the gym when it happened.

"I'm very lucky," he said.

McNamara has only a shallow scratch on his face after the attack at 21st and Arch Streets.

He says the violent encounter started after the suspect yelled at him.

"I turned and started to walk away and that's when this guy came back around the corner and slashed at my cheek," McNamara said.

Minutes before McNamara's attack a similar attack occurred near the Riverloft Apartment Homes at 23rd and Walnut streets.

Surveillance video captures the moments just before police say the man stabbed a 23-year-old man jogging by.

The victim told police he was on Walnut Street when he passed the suspect, whom he didn't know, and the suspect gave him an angry look.

After they passed each other, the victim said he heard the suspect running after him, so he began to run and fell at the corner of 23rd and Walnut Streets.

Police say the suspect then jumped on top of the victim and stabbed him in the side with a three-inch knife. The victim held up his hands and was stabbed in the hand as well.

"Somebody was chasing him and he fell. When I went out to help him, I thought the guy was punching him, but he wasn't punching him, the guy was stabbing him," Riverloft employee Ralph Wilson said.

Wilson tells Action News he immediately started yelling at the attacker from the front door.

"I hollered 'Yo, cut that out!' and he just stopped and walked away, like he didn't have a care in the world," Wilson said.

Wilson pulled the victim to the front steps of the Riverloft building and called 911.

Police say there was no clear motive for the attack. The suspect never took anything from either victim.

Both victims were treated at nearby hospitals and released.