By JULIA JACOBO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A New York man has been charged with hate crimes over a series of attacks on women.
Since August, Brooklyn resident Khari Covington, 29, has been accused of attacking nine different women — seven of whom were on the subway, according to the NYPD. The attacks occurred in the East Williamsburg neighborhood, close to the homeless shelter where he lives, police said.
Sources told ABC New York station WABC that Covington was targeting light-skinned women.
In each of the attacks, a woman in her 20s or 30s was punched in the head, police said.
One of the victims, 26-year-old Manal Guennad, told WABC that she was at the Morgan Street subway station on Saturday around 9 p.m. when Covington pushed her against the wall and began hitting her over the head.
Guennad said she had heard of a man who was attacking women at the station and realized it was Covington as he made his way toward her.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh my God, it’s him,"” she said.
Guennad said police officers at the station heard her cries for help but Covington had fled by the time they got to her.
Another victim, Bianca Fortis, told WABC that she hopes Covington “gets whatever help that he needs.” She suffered from bruises, swelling and cuts to her face from the attack, she said.
Covington is also suspected of being responsible for an attack this week on a 27-year-old woman, who was punched and choked at the Sunflower Glass Company Smoke Shop in Bushwick, WABC reported.
Covington was arrested Tuesday has been charged with eight counts of assault as a hate crime and one count of attempted robbery as a hate crime, an NYPD spokesman told ABC News.
He has previously been charged with robbery in 2013 and 2015.
It was unclear if Covington has a lawyer.
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