New York City police say four apparently homeless men were killed in Manhattan by an assailant wielding a three-foot long metal pipe thought to be from a construction site. The attacks were carried out while the victims were asleep.
A fifth person was hospitalized with critical injuries, according to the New York Times, quoting NYPD spokesman Lt. Thomas Antonetti.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday morning, Deputy Chief Inspector Michael Baldassano said a 24-year-old male “person of interest,” who is also homeless, is in custody. He said the attacks appeared to be “random” rather than motivated by race or age.
The police have not yet released the names of the victims, or the suspect, who the New York Post reports had 14 past arrests, including an assault charge from earlier this year.
The attacker, who was wearing black pants and a black jacket, was apprehended with a metal pipe suspected to be the weapon used in the attacks.
Baldassano asked the public to call in if they had seen a man fitting this description in the days before the deadly attacks, or if anyone had witnessed similar attacks on homeless people in recent weeks.
The first deadly attack took place around 1:40 a.m. in Manhattan's Chinatown after first responders were called to a scene with a victim with “severe trauma to the head.”
Police were then called to a scene on the Lower East Side for a victim with a similar head injury, and found two additional victims down the block and a third victim across the street. One of those men survived his assault but is in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.
This story is developing.