NEW YORK CITY (WPIX) — The death of a homeless man found on a New York street Sunday evening has residents rattled as the NYPD and police in Washington, D.C., investigate a series of attacks they believe are connected.
The 43-year-old man was found around 6:30 p.m. near Greenwich and Murray streets inside a sleeping bag with two puncture wounds to his body, police said. It remained unclear Monday morning if his death was connected to five other recent attacks on homeless individuals — two in New York City and three in Washington, D.C.
A neighbor who said she was familiar with the man told NewsNation affiliate WPIX on Sunday night that he often hung around the area where he was found dead. She said he wouldn’t bother people and she never felt threatened by him but that he often asked for money to help get him into a hostel.
Late Sunday night, Mayor Eric Adams and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a joint statement calling the suspect in the five connected attacks a “cold-blooded killer.”
Our communities in D.C. and New York City are heartbroken and disturbed by these heinous crimes in which an individual has been targeting some of our most vulnerable residents. The two of us spoke about how our teams can coordinate and help one another, and we are calling on everyone in our cities to look at the images of the suspect and report any information, however small, that may be useful. The work to get this individual off our streets before he hurts or murders another individual is urgent. The rise in gun violence has shaken all of us and it is particularly horrible to know that someone is out there deliberately doing harm to an already vulnerable population.
As our law enforcement agencies work quickly with federal partners to locate the suspect, we are also calling on unsheltered residents to seek shelter. 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.Mayor Adams and Mayor Bowser
The two victims in New York City were shot, one fatally, Saturday morning about an hour apart and just a few blocks from each other. Police said both shootings were unprovoked attacks against men resting in sleeping bags.
In D.C., three men were shot between March 3 and March 9. One of those victims died, authorities said.
Investigators released surveillance video of the suspect at the scene of one of the New York City attacks. Adams described it as “chilling.”
“These are our brothers and sisters who fell on hard times. We have an obligation to provide them with the services that they need,” the mayor added.
However, Jacquelyn Simone, policy director for the New York City Coalition for the Homeless, said Adams and other city leaders are not doing enough to protect this vulnerable population.
“It’s imperative the city expands access to low-barrier shelter options and permanent affordable housing so that people can move in off the street and have more safety and security,” she said.