Barcelona
© AFP / Lluis Gene
FILE PHOTO: A Catalan policeman stands guard in downtown Barcelona.
Police in Barcelona have connected the dots between a series of apparently random attacks across the city, tying one suspect to two murders, a stabbing and an attempt at arson in the span of a single afternoon.

It all started around 3pm local time, when Barcelona's fire brigade responded to calls about an apartment blaze near the city's Ciutadella Park. Inside the flat they stumbled upon far more than a fire, finding not only evidence of arson, but the body of a man with "signs of violence," and apparently strangled. Police were called to investigate, strongly suspecting foul play.

A video later emerged on social media showing an unidentified man descending the facade of the apartment building as smoke billowed from one of its windows, dressed in beige pants, a dark jacket and a black motorcycle helmet.


Before authorities could wrap their heads around the first apparent murder, another call came in moments later. Locals had discovered the body of an elderly woman in the lobby of a building about 600 meters down the road from the scene of the fire. She appeared to have sustained a head injury, but unable to immediately link her death with the first incident, police kept their options open, refusing to rule out causes other than homicide.

About an hour after the fire, however, yet another encounter would bring the mystery to a close. An attempted robbery in Saint James Square, less than a mile from Ciutadella Park, left one man with a critical stab wound to the abdomen, but this time the assailant wasn't so lucky. Finally nabbed by police after a street scuffle, which was captured on video, the man was brought into custody.


Answers about the fate of the elderly woman were soon forthcoming, with police finding some of her belongings - among them an ID card - in a search of the suspect, who was described in media reports as a person of 'foreign nationality', about 30 years of age. He was arrested wearing the same clothing witnesses had earlier reported, including the black helmet.

The suspect, who has yet to be named, was detained by Barcelona's municipal police force, the Guardia Urbana, and handed over to the Criminal Investigation Division for further questioning, where officers will attempt to clarify what motivated the violent crime spree.