CHINATOWN, N.Y. – Police in New York have arrested a suspect after they say he brutally beat four homeless men to death with a pipe late on Friday night, according to a report from NBC 4.
Police say they’ve taken the suspect into custody, but have not yet released their name. They did confirm, however, that all of the victims, as well as the suspect, are homeless.
The string of attacks were discovered after New York City police received a 911 call just before 2 a.m. on Saturday concerning an unconscious man who was bleeding from the head and lying in the street of a Chinatown neighborhood.
Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South said that the man had “severe head trauma” when he police found him.
While the officers worked the scene, a second victim approached them, also showing signs that he was a victim of a serious beating.
He confirmed witness accounts that a man dressed in black pants and a black jacket had struck the victims in the head several times with a metal pipe before fleeing the scene, Hughes said.
The second victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition and is expected to survive his wounds, but police say the first victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
As members of the NYPD began canvassing the area, they quickly learned that the incident was not an isolated event.
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They discovered that three other homeless men in the East Broadway area had been targeted in the vicious assaults, believed to have been sleeping when their assailant attacked them. All three showed consistency within their wounds, and all three were pronounced dead at the scene from their injuries.
As officers combed through the neighborhood, they located a 24-year-old man at the corner of Mulberry Street and Canal Street. Police say the suspect was carrying a metal pipe that was consistent with the the one described by witnesses.
At least 4 men, all believed to be homeless, were killed in Manhattan by an assailant who struck them with a metal object while they were sleeping early Saturday morning, a police spokesman said https://t.co/A9KYroKFJ6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 5, 2019
NBC 4 said that the officers were able to take the suspect into custody without further incident. While they have yet to release his name, they say that he has a number of arrests for prior assaults, including one at a Brooklyn homeless shelter in May.
Police have said that the four victims, the injured man and the suspect are all without a permanent residence.
Deputy Chief Michael Baldassano said that it appeared that the attacks were random and that all of the victims had been sleeping when the suspect jumped them, but an investigation into the brutal assaults is ongoing.
Presidential hopeful Julian Castro took to Twitter to say the attacks were not random, but targeted our ‘most vulnerable’.
This attack is monstrous, but it was not random. It targeted the most vulnerable among us.
It is our failure to treat people experiencing homelessness with dignity that left these individuals vulnerable to such hateful violence. https://t.co/0gLAdHVIwd
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 5, 2019
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Anyone with information about the attacks is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.