Police: 1 suspect responsible for 5 shootings of homeless people in NYC, Washington DC
Police believe that one man is responsible for a recent string of shootings targeting people experiencing homelessness in New York City and Washington, D.C. The suspect is believed to have carried out five shootings, two of them fatal, in the month of March, police said.
“Given the similarity in the modus operandi of the perpetrator, common circumstances involved in each shooting, circumstances of the victims and recovered evidence, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will jointly investigate these offenses,” the NYPD and MPD announced Sunday in a joint statement.
The first three shootings took place in Washington, D.C., over the course of the last two weeks. A man who who was sleeping on the street was shot in the early morning of March 3. He was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries that were not life threatening, police said. A similar incident happened again on March 8, and again, the victim’s injures were not life threatening.
At around 3 a.m. the following day, a MPD officer noticed a tent fire. After the fire was extinguished, the remains of another victim were found and an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple gunshot and stab wounds, police said.
Two more victims were shot Saturday in New York City. The first, a 38-year-old man, was shot in the arm at around 4:30 a.m. The second victim was discovered around 5 p.m. after police responded to a call about a person suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and neck. That victim was pronounced dead at the scene police said, adding that witnesses in the area said they had heard gunshots about 11 hours earlier.
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual praying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement Sunday. “We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice.”
Another person experiencing homelessness was found dead in New York City on Sunday, CBS New York reports, but it is unclear at this time if that death is related to the five shootings.
Police released images of the suspect taken from surveillance video and encouraged anybody who could identify him to contact MPD or the NYPD.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday asked “everyone in our cities to look at the images of the suspect and report any information, however small, that may be useful.”
“As our law enforcement agencies work quickly with federal partners to locate the suspect, we are also calling on unsheltered residents to seek shelter,” the mayors said in a joint statement. “Again, it is heartbreaking and tragic to know that in addition to all the dangers that unsheltered residents face, we now have a cold-blooded killer on the loose, but we are certain that we will get the suspect off the street and into police custody.”