Suspect in triple-stabbing in downtown G.R. now charged with arson, as well
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 20-year-old man suspected of stabbing three people while they slept on November 10th is now facing unrelated charges of arson, as well. He allegedly told a detective he wanted to “see the world burn”.
Grand Rapids Police say the arson charges stem from early-morning vehicle fires that occurred outside the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Avenue SW. Two delivery vans were set on fire, and one was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene around 2:20 a.m. on November 10th. The vans belonged to Blue Spoon Catering and Field & Fire Bakery, per GRPD.
Police say investigators have gathered enough evidence to present the case to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for arson charges against Tyler Charles Benedict, who turns 21 on December 16th. He’s being held at the Kent County Correctional Facility on two charges of Assault with Intent to Murder, as well as Felonious Assault and 4th-degree Arson.
The GRPD says in a news release that three men in their 60s were sleeping under a steam vent near a bank at Lyon Street and Monroe Avenue around 3 a.m. on November 10th – less than an hour after the arsons occurred. “They were sleeping under blankets and tarps when all were simultaneously attacked without provocation.
“Per one of the victims’ statements, the suspect made a lot of random and strange comments about the devil. And the attacker emotionally stressed that these were ‘his streets’.”
Right after the stabbings, Amway Hotel Security notified police the suspect may’ve fled into the hotel parking garage. GRPD officers later located Benedict – who matched the suspect description – and took him into custody. They used surveillance images of the arson suspect to identify Benedict as the suspect in that incident. The knife was recovered in the parking ramp.
Investigators say a GRPD Major Case Team detective obtained a confession on November 11th from Benedict, who allegedly said he was “angry and wanted to see the world burn”.
Police say all three stabbing victims survived, but required medical attention for serious lacerations or puncture wounds.
Anyone with more information about the incidents should contact the Grand Rapids Police Department or Silent Observer.