Police in Flint, Mich., Toledo, Ohio, and Leesburg, Va., are searching for a man who is connected to 20 stabbing attacks since May. Five of the victims died from their wounds, and the latest victim, Tony Leno of Toledo, remains in critical condition after being stabbed last weekend, according to ABC affiliate WJRT.
Police are concerned that the attacks have a racial element because all but three of the victims have been black men. The suspect is a white male.
"One could think that is happening. But we don't know what is in the mind of this assailant, but the evidence certainly suggests that," Genesee County, Mich. prosecutor David Leyton told WJRT.
Richard Booker, 49, was recently released from a Flint hospital where he has been for the last three weeks after being stabbed. He told ABCNews that he has 68 staples throughout his back and belly and has slash wounds on his arms because he tried to prevent the man from "cutting off his face."
"I've never hurt so much in my life, never come so close to death," Booker told ABCNews. "I was about dead."
Booker, who is white, dismisses the notion that the attacks are racially motivated.
"I'm obviously not black. The guy's just a stone cold killer," Booker said.
Booker was stabbed five times, including a roughly 12 inch long vertical slash from below his belly button all the way up his chest. He lost eight pints of blood from his wounds.
Antwoine Marshall, who was attacked two weeks ago, described a similar experience and similar wounds. He told ABCNews he was stabbed six times in his stomach and chest.
"It's a very, very violent type of crime. Maybe he's enjoying watching them suffer, maybe he's enjoying watching them wriggle around in pain. But we really don't know what he's thinking, and we won't until we bring him in and talk to him," Leyton told "Good Morning America."
Over 450 tips have flooded in to authorities in Flint, where 16 of the attacks and all of the fatalities have occurred, according to Michigan State Police First Lieutenant Gene Kapp. Leesburg and Toledo police have also received tips.
The link between the attacks, which began in May, was not apparent until recently.
"There's similarities in many things. The weapon used, the suspect, the area," Kapp said. "Those similarities cannot be ignored."
Victims have told police the crimes occurred when they were alone, and the suspect approached them asking for directions or help with his car. Then, he stabbed them with an edged weapon, police say.
Booker's story matched this one. He said the man asked him for help opening the hood of his SUV.
The suspect is a white male in his 20s or 30s who stands roughly 5 feet 11 inches tall to 6 feet 2 inches tall, and weighs approximately 180 to 210 pounds. He frequently wears a baseball cap during the attacks, according to police.
Capp said the authorities have formed a task force made up of all the law enforcement agencies in Michigan's Genesee County, including the Flint Police Department, the Michigan State Police and the FBI.
"It's an ongoing investigation and any tips that come in are being reviewed and investigated," Capp said.