Minneapolis police are asking for help in finding a man who randomly stabbed three people, one fatally, in a series of crimes one morning last month.

A man in a black hoodie fatally stabbed 78-year-old Maria Elena Mantini at a south Minneapolis bus shelter the morning of March 17.

The attack occurred at Chicago and Franklin avenues near Peavey Field Park about 9:40 a.m. Paramedics rushed Mantini to the hospital, where she died, becoming the city's 15th homicide of 2021.

Within minutes, a 76-year-old man was stabbed on the other side of Peavey Field, at 2215 Park Av.

The suspect reportedly approached that victim asking for a cigarette, and the two had a friendly conversation before the attack, according to police. The victim, who had been waiting for his wife to complete a doctor's appointment, is recuperating from critical injuries.

About 25 minutes after the first attack, a 28-year-old man was stabbed near E. Lake Street and S. 12th Avenue. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Minneapolis police say the stabbings are connected and one man is wanted in all three.

Neither survivor knew their attacker, who did not try to rob them or commit any other crime in the course of the assaults.

"Someone who goes out and stabs three individuals with this sort of aggression and randomness, I think there's probably some mental health issues. We'll know more when we get this person into custody," said police spokesman John Elder, who released several images of the suspect Thursday.

Elder said police have video footage of the suspect, who wore a black hoodie and blue surgical mask during the stabbings, getting rid of the hoodie and mask afterward.

"We have not identified him at all," he said, asking for the public's help.

"You have people who are victims of crimes through no fault of their own. None. They were in the wrong place. They didn't do anything to aggravate the individual."

Police are asking anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers of Minnesota at 800-222-8477.

Tips can be anonymous, and anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a financial reward.

Susan Du • 612-673-4028