Elias Abuelazam, the man suspected in a series of stabbing attacks across three states, was arrested during an Arlington traffic stop last week, but then let go.

Detective Crystal Nosal, an Arlington County police spokeswoman, said Abuelazam was pulled over for a traffic stop at 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 5, a few hours before one of the Leesburg assaults. He was pulled over for failing to obey a highway sign.

She said officers learned Abuelazam was wanted on a simple assault warrant in Leesburg. A magistrate judge released him without bond.

Nosal said the outstanding assault warrant was unrelated to the recent alleged stabbing spate, in which authorities say Abuelazam killed five people and injured 13 others in Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

Court records show that the assault charge, a misdemeanor, was filed in Loudoun County General District Court in November 2008.

On Thursday, Leesburg Police Chief Joseph Price described the incident as a "family-based assault."

Abuelazam's arraignment for the alleged assault was scheduled for Aug. 16. Loudoun court records also show that Abuelazam spent 30 days in jail for making false reports.

Authorities said he failed to report a nonviolent California conviction when attempting to purchase a firearm in 2007.

He was also charged with a felony weapons-possession offense in 2007, but the charge was dropped the next year. Abuelazam has been charged with one count of assault with intent to murder in Michigan.

Charges related to the serial stabbings have not been filed against him in Virginia or Ohio. He was apprehended late Wednesday at the Hartsfied-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Israel.

ebabay@washingtonexaminer.com