Police have arrested a new suspect in connection to a series of attacks on women that follow a similar pattern at a Brooklyn subway station since November.
The suspect, identified by police as 29-year-old Khari Covington, was arrested Tuesday and has been charged with eight counts of assault as a hate crime, as well as one count of attempted robbery as a hate crime.
Covington is allegedly behind attacks that left women hit from behind, punched in the face and knocked to the ground — with the most recent attack occurring on Saturday, police said. It is believed that he targeted women with lighter skin, according to police.
At least five women have been attacked inside the L train station on Morgan Avenue in East Williamsburg over the past seven weeks, according to police. The NYPD released a timeline of the violence on Monday, with the first attack coming on Nov. 17, when a woman said she was approached from behind and then punched in the face.
About three and a half weeks later, on Dec. 11, another woman said she was also punched from behind, with her nose and forehead injured in the attack. The day after Christmas, a third female victim said she was walking down the stairs when she was hit, injuring her left eye. And on Dec. 28, another similar attack left bruises on a woman’s face.
“He came out of nowhere, he started punching me. He hit my face, my chest, my shoulder,” said victim Bianca Fortis.
Police previously arrested a different man in connection with the assaults, but a senior NYPD official with knowledge of he investigation said that those charges had been voided after he was arrested in error.
In the most recent violent incident at the station, a woman was walking down the subway stairs when she was pushed and struck in the face. And another woman told NBC New York that she too was attacked on Nov. 11 at the Morgan Avenue station.
“He was coming down behind me, and he must have — from the angle and from what I’ve gathered — kicked me in the side of the face and head from behind,” said Elizabeth Wakefield. “My immediate thought after it happened to me was, I really hope this doesn’t happen again to somebody else.”
Police did not confirm to NBC New York whether Wakefield’s attack was linked to the others. But she said that after talking with the other victims, “it sounds like similar descriptions of what he looked like and pretty much the exact same style of attack, and the same exact subway stop.”
Police believe Covington was also the suspect behind an attack at a smoke shop just a block away the subway station. In that most recent assault, which was caught on camera, a man can be seen throwing a woman who was working there alone to the ground, then punching her repeatedly.
Erik Pye owns the shop, and said the employee fought back against her attacker, who left her with scratches all over her back and bruises on her face.