Suspect in Prospect Park Attacks Charged in Hate Crime Stabbing: NYPD

Police say the man responsible for attacking two people with a knife in Prospect Park Wednesday night is also responsible for an earlier hate crime in which a Brooklyn Hasidic man was stabbed.

"We believe he is the person who did that as well, so that closes out a series of stabbings in around Brooklyn," NYPD Chief of Detective Robert Boyce said at a press conference Thursday.

Kenny Rochelin, 26, allegedly attacked a 30-year-old jogger near Lincoln Road and East Drive Wednesday night, slashing him once in the hand before taking off into the park.

A short time later, Rochelin allegedly struck again, this time stabbing a 43-year-old man in the stomach near Parkside and Ocean avenues, according to police.

After he stabbed the second man, police say he stole his wallet and fled.

Police spotted him near the two attacks and took him into custody a short time later, authorities said. 

Both victims were taken to Kings County Hospital and are expected to survive.

Rochelin, who lives in a homeless shelter on Manhattan's Upper West Side, has now been charged with a hate crime in the stabbing of a Hasidic man in Crown Heights on Feb. 10, police said.

In that attack, police say the 25-year-old victim, Leiby Brikman, was walking on Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights at about 11:30 a.m. when Rochelin allegedly came up behind him and stabbed him in the back. Brikman was wearing religious garb, but the suspect did not make anti-Semitic comments.

Rochelin will face second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon charges in connection to that attack.

Residents in Crown Heights applauded the NYPD at a community meeting Thursday. 

"As far as the community members, speaking with the police myself, I feel they did an amazing job," said Devorah Halberstam. 

Rivkah Brikman, the mother of victim Leiby, said he suffered a punctured lung in last month's attack, but is now OK. She said at the meeting she was happy about the arrest but not at ease. 

"We need a follow-up," she said. 

NYPD Chief Steven Powers said, "Unless he has the exact same shoes, the exact same clothing, we definitely got the right guy." 

Since the attack, police have added 1,600 additional tours in the neighborhood. The community put pressure on the police Thursday night to keep it up.

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