Four homeless men beaten to death in New York City rampage

Man arrested fleeing scene of attack with long metal pipe in hands

Samuel Osborne
Saturday 05 October 2019 18:12
Police officers investigate the scene of one of the attacks in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood
Police officers investigate the scene of one of the attacks in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood

Four homeless men have been killed while they slept and a fifth is in a critical condition after a series of attacks in New York City.

The men were attacked apparently at random in the city’s Chinatown neighbourhood in Manhattan on Saturday, Chief of Manhattan South Detectives Michael Baldassano said.

A 24-year-old suspect was arrested after fleeing the scene of the last attack, the detective said.

Police said they recovered a metal pipe that was still in his hands at the time. He is in custody but has yet to be charged.

The suspect is homeless and his actions appear to have been “random attacks” rather than motivated by race or age, Mr Baldassano added.

The victims were attacked in three different locations.

The first died of blunt trauma to the head. A second was attacked nearby but survived. He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

The other three victims, who were attacked about a block away, also died of trauma to the head.

The New York Post published photos of two of the victims under a white sheet, one slumped in a blood-spattered doorway. The other lay under a sheet on the pavement. The identities of the victims have not been released.

The suspect was described as wearing a black jacket and black trousers that helped police find him quickly and arrest him on a nearby street.

Mr Baldassano said police were searching the neighborhood street by street on Saturday morning for any other possible victims.

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New York City’s homeless population has grown in recent years, to a large extent because of the lack of affordable housing.

The killings started on The Bowery, which cuts through Chinatown and has for decades been inhabited by homeless addicts and alcoholics.

During the day, the neighborhood is bustling with small businesses and street vendors offering discount goods, its sidewalks packed with pedestrians.

Late at night, when the shops close, it turns into a quiet, desolate neighbourhood that was the setting for Saturday’s attacks.

Additional reporting by agencies

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