A man suspected of randomly assaulting multiple women at a New York City subway station has been arrested Tuesday and charged with multiple hate crimes, authorities said.
Khari Covington, 29, is accused of attacking seven women at a Brooklyn subway station and two women nearby on street level, the New York Post reported.
Covington, who lives at a homeless shelter blocks away from the Morgan Street subway station, allegedly targeted light-skinned women in their 20s and 30s before randomly attacking them and punching them in the head, according to video footage of the incident provided by WABC.
The same man is said to be responsible for pummeling and choking a 27-year-old woman at a smoke shop in Bushwick this week, police said.
Police said Covington barged into the smoke shop, went behind the counter, and knocked the woman to the ground before putting his arm around her neck.
He allegedly tried to steal from the business as well but left empty-handed.
The 27-year-old refused medical attention for her injuries.
The arrest also came after one of the women attacked in the subway criticized the New York Police Department (NYPD) for not letting the public know about the pattern of assaults.
“I was stunned that this had happened so many times,” Bianca Fortis, a 32-year-old journalist, told the Post Monday.
“I didn’t see any police stationed there. There were no flyers,” said Fortis, who suffered multiple bruises to her face, shoulder, and chest during the attack as she was leaving the Morgan Avenue station in the East Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on December 28.
Police had previously arrested Benny Watts, 50, in connection with the attacks.
But a senior NYPD official told NBC 4 New York that Watts’s arrest was a mistake and that all charges were voided.
Police said Covington’s alleged assault spree inside the Morgan Avenue station started on November 11 and his most recent attack was Saturday.
Covington faces eight counts of assault as a hate crime and a single count of attempted robbery as a hate crime, police said.