Suspect charged with murder in unprovoked stabbing death of Brooklyn activist

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(NEW YORK) — A teenage suspect has been charged with murder in connection with the stabbing of Brooklyn, New York, activist Ryan Carson, police said.

The suspect, 18-year-old Brian Dowling, was taken into custody around 11 a.m. Thursday, police said. He was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

Detectives were searching Dowling’s home, located less than a block from the deadly assault, when he showed up, according to police sources. They recovered the sweatshirt he appears to have been wearing in the surveillance images from the scene of the stabbing along with a knife that will now be tested to see if it matches the murder weapon, sources said.

He is being held at the NYPD’s 81st Precinct and is expected to appear in court later Thursday.

Carson, 31, died after being stabbed in the chest multiple times during the apparently unprovoked attack early Monday morning in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, police said.

Carson and his girlfriend were coming home from a wedding at the time.

The suspect walked past the couple while they were seated on a bench at a bus stop, police said. As the two then walked toward the suspect, he started to damage scooters and said to Carson, “What are you looking at?” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday.

As Carson tried to de-escalate the situation, the suspect swung a knife at him, Kenny said. Carson backed up and tripped, falling to the ground. The suspect then stabbed him three times, with the knife piercing his heart, Kenny said.

Prior to the attack, the suspect was seen “acting agitated” while talking to a woman police believe to have been his girlfriend, Kenny said. Following the stabbing, the woman apologized to the couple and said the name Brian, Kenny said.

Police say the suspect in the stabbing was enrolled in a learn-to-work program at a school in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. He is said to have had prior summonses for disorderly conduct in 2022.

A day after the stabbing, the NYPD released a photo of a suspect sought in the case, and police were working to develop probable cause to make an arrest, Kenny said Wednesday.

Carson was a longtime campaign organizer for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan political organization, focusing on waste policy. He also created the campaign No OD NY, which raised awareness for overdose prevention centers.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams called his murder “unthinkable,” and vowed that the NYPD “won’t rest until we bring him to justice.”

 

 

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