Detroit man stabbed five times after being asked if he was Muslim

Terrence Lavaron Thomas (Photo: Southfield Police Department)

A man asked two people whether they were Muslims before stabbing them at a Detroit bus stop on Saturday, the victims told police.

A 52-year-old Detroit man was stabbed five times; once in the face, once in the neck and three times in the back, Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said. A 51-year-old Detroit man who tried to intervene was stabbed in the hand. The incident happened at about 10:30 p.m. near Northland Mall at 21500 Northwestern Highway.

Minutes later and a few blocks away, police arrested Terrence Lavaron Thomas, 39, of Detroit, who’s accused of stabbing the two men. He was carrying two knives and some marijuana, and he told police he was a Muslim,according to Southfield Police Department.

“We are getting indications through my officers that the suspect was somewhat incoherent afterward, and so there’s a question about his stability,” Hawkins said.

Thomas was arraigned today in 46th District Court on two counts of assault with intent to murder, one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent and possession of a controlled substance.

Magistrate Jajonie-Daman set bond at $1 million cash surety. A preliminary examination is scheduled for March 4.

Police have contacted the FBI, which is also investigating the incident to see whether hate-crime laws were violated, according to a news release Tuesday from Southfield Police Department.

“The victims in this case said that the suspect asked them if they were Muslim,” Hawkins said. “They responded that they were not, and then there was some back-and-forth between the victims and the suspect.”

Then, the man started stabbing one of them, he said. Police say they don’t believe the men knew their attacker, whom appears to have acted alone. Both men have been released from Providence Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The FBI investigation could lead to federal charges if ethnic intimidation is believed to have been a factor.

Police arrested Thomas minutes after the incident while he was walking in the area of Greenfield Road and 7 Mile. He had two folding knives with blades about 3 inches long, and one of them appears to have been the weapon used in the stabbing, Hawkins said.

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