There are a lot of interesting dimensions to the latest Serial Killer case out of Flint, Michigan, and the newly disclosed arrest made of Elias Abuelazam. As it’s known that the arrest of the alleged serial killer is on unrelated charges, it will be interesting to see what comes out in the days ahead.
To get more information on this case, to find out if it’s likely that this is the person who committed the murders, and on the nature of serial killers in general, I spoke with the well-known Pat Brown, a respected criminal profiler who has worked on a lot of national cases.
Rose M. Garland: I could be wrong, but it seems to me that something interesting about this case is that it’s been reported that this serial killer targeted men, rather than women, and primarily older or elderly African American men. Is that unusual for a serial killer?
Pat Brown: Absolutely. Criminal profilers deal in what is logical, and what can be proven by evidence. What I know is this: females are the number one victims killed, and their murders usually involve sexual assault. Next, extremely sadly, are children murdered by pedophiles, and the third largest group are those that target gay people, or have another target group marked, such as one having to do with race.
What no one is really talking about, and what I think the crux of this case is – is advanced bullying. No one has really talked about this yet. I believe this is a Serial Killer whose underlying thinking is that of an advanced bully. When you bully someone you never pick on someone bigger than you or your own size – or even in your own cultural group. Someone you feel is beneath you in some way. Smaller, poorer, or someone of another race. Men tend to pick on women, women tend to pick on children – advanced bullies, and Serial Killers with the advanced bullying tendency, as in this case, pick on those that they feel they’re better than, and that they’re bigger than, whether they are disabled or elderly.
My opinion is that he wouldn’t be in the upper eschelon of people in our society. He would be one rung above his victims – step up one class and you find your guy. It doesn’t surprise me that he was found working at a liquor store or a party store. It’s a regular job, you can get off the street, and it doesn’t require a lot of skills.
Criminal Profilers are not gods, we’re analysts, and we go by evidence. And the portrayals of profilers are so fictionalized and so bizarre, but we’re not nearly as fantastic as people think we are. We work with evidence and logical reasoning.
RMG: Something that surprised me was how much he looked like someone I might have gone to school with or dated even. I hate to say this, but in the picture they’re sending around, he looks like an average guy – even possibly a nice guy.
Pat Brown: Nope, no hump on his back. Serial killers look like everybody else. That’s why they go to these jobs, and people hire them until they find they’re uncomfortable about them, they’re habitual liars, or something just feels off. He’s a person, not the phantom of the opera – that’s exactly why he can get victims. Since he doesn’t look terrifying, people were willing to give him directions. But that’s his ruse. To find someone alone and ask for directions.
What I want to know is how many people didn’t he stab? That would be what would be most interesting. How many times did he try to catch someone, and someone else showed up on the street, or he looked at them and realized the person was bigger than him.
RMG: The man arrested, Elias Abuelazam, is only alleged to be the serial killer. What, do you believe, is the likelihood that he actually is?
Pat Brown: Many things fit here. The job he had is one I would expect him to have – one step up from the victims. Another thing is the likelihood of him having visited Leesburg Virginia. How many people have that exact connection? And the serial killer was sloppy, he let his face be seen, he was identified as having an earring and wearing the hat he wears, and the vehicle was also identified.
On the other hand, there are some unusual elements about this case. The most unusual thing about this is that this guy was about to get on a plane – and he drove down to Atlanta to do it. Serial Killers don’t usually flee – they never think you’ll figure it out. And why Israel? There are places that are closer and cheaper that he could have gone to. Did he immigrate from Israel sometime in his youth? Did he steal the identity of someone else? Why Israel? That’s a little weird, which makes you think is this the right guy? It’s so extremely rare for a serial killer to try to flee the country.
RMG: It’s been suggested that he might have had an accomplice who drove the vehicle. How likely is this?
Pat Brown: It’s possible, a little bullying couple like the DC snipers. Two people hunting together, getting a thrill out of that. It reminds me of the recent increase of attacks of homeless people by teenage boys. So, it would not be totally rare or unlikely. It’s more likely for bully types to have accomplices, so I wouldn’t totally discount it.
Serial killers take a lot of down time – like months or years, so when he hurries up like this, he turns into a spree killer. I believe it to be less likely to be racial than about a group he feels more comfortable bullying. We’ll see if he starts with the common serial killer “justifications,” like he’s just cleaning up the streets or something else, which, of course, is total bull.
To go back to how he picked his victims, and why he more often chose street people. It’s like with prostitutes – the police might not pay attention to the crimes – they are easy victims, and police don’t rush in to do the investigations.
Really this guy is not so much a Serial Killer, although of course he is that too, but a Serial Stabber who got ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’ as the case may be. He didn’t seem to care as much about actually killing the victims as about stabbing them. As I said, an extremely unusual case.
Pat Brown wrote an absolutely fascinating book called The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths. To read a review of the book on NewsBlaze, click here: http://newsblaze.com/entertainment/books/book-review-profiler-my-life-hunting-serial-killers-and-psychopaths/.