A “chilling” video captured the moment police say a suspected serial shooter shot and killed a sleeping homeless man execution-style as he slept in New York City. You can watch the video above, along with surveillance video from Washington D.C., where police believe the same suspect killed one homeless person and wounded another.
Police in the two cities believe the suspect has shot at least five people over a two-week span in March 2022, killing two and wounding three, according to a joint press release. A joint task force that also includes federal investigators has been launched to track down the possible serial killer. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information, the NYPD says.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the video “chilling” and the shootings “horrific,” telling reporters, “We need to find this person, and we need New Yorkers to help us.” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said on Twitter, “NYPD officers are working tirelessly to bring the person responsible for the murders of two of our most vulnerable New Yorkers to justice. They’re connecting with those in need of services, searching block-by-block, and in contact with @DCPoliceDept partners. We will find him.”
DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee added in a statement, “Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee said: “From the first incident, the Metropolitan Police has spared no resource in our efforts to identify the suspect behind these cowardly acts. We are committed to sharing every investigative path, clue and piece of evidence with our law enforcement partners to bring this investigation to a swift conclusion and the individual behind these vicious crimes to justice.”
The First Shooting Occurred on March 3 in DC & the Most Recent Was on March 12 in New York City, With One Victim Barely Escaping by Scaring Off the Suspect, Police Say
The NYPD, DC Metro Police and ATF press release says, “Between the two cities, there have been five shootings, including two homicides. In each offense, the victims were experiencing homelessness. The most recent shootings occurred in New York City in the early morning hours of March 12. Both incidents involve homeless men who were sleeping on the street and were shot, without provocation, by a male suspect.”
According to the release, the first shooting happened in DC on Thursday, March 3, 2022, about 4 a.m. Officers from the department’s Fifth District responded to the 1100 block of New York Avenue, Northeast for the sound of gunshots. “Upon arrival, members located an adult male victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries,” police said.
“On Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at approximately 1:21 am, members of the Fifth District responded to the 1700 block of H Street, Northeast for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, members located an adult male victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries,” police said.
The fatal DC shooting happened on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, just before 3 a.m., police said. According to the release, “A member of the Metropolitan Police Department was in the area of the 400 block of New York Avenue, Northeast and observed a tent fire. DC Fire and EMS responded to the scene and extinguished the fire. Further investigation revealed the remains of an adult male which displayed no signs consistent with life and was pronounced deceased. The victim remained on scene until transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. As a result of an autopsy, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was multiple stab and gunshot wounds. The manner of death was ruled a Homicide.”
A 38-year-old man was shot while sleeping on King Street near Varick Street in New York City about 4:30 a.m. on March 12, 2022, the NYPD says. The victim was shot in the arm and survived. The victim scared off the suspect by pretending to call 911, likely saving his life, the New York Daily News reports. The fatal shooting in New York City happened about an hour later, police said.
“On March 12, 2022, at approximately 5:00 pm, New York City police responded to a 911 call for an unidentified male suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses in the area reported hearing gunshots at approximately 6:00 a.m.,” the NYPD said.
Police are working to determine if the death of a homeless man on Sunday, March 13, in Tribeca is connected to the killings. The death has not been classified as a homicide and police said the homeless person did not appear to have been shot or stabbed, NBC New York reports. The incident was first reported as a shooting, leading to fears it could be connected to the other attacks.
NYPD Commissioner Sewell Said ‘Our Homeless Population Is One of Our Most Vulnerable & an Individual Preying on Them as They Sleep Is An Exceptionally Heinous Crime’
ATF Washington Field Division Special Agent-in-Charge Charlie Patterson said in a statement, “There will be no resource spared to locate and arrest the individual/s responsible for these incomprehensible acts of violence committed against our community members. ATF will utilize our expertise as we continue coordinating and combining efforts with our local, state and federal partners to ensure public safety is restored. Our condolences go out to the family members of those affected by this blatant disregard of human life.”
Sewell, the NYPD commissioner, added in a statement, “Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual preying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime. We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice.”
The DC police said, “Anyone who can identify this individual or who has knowledge of these incidents should call police in Washington, DC at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to MPD’s anonymous text tip line at 50411. The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for this offense. The ATF Washington Field Division is offering an additional $20,000.”
The NYPD added, “Anyone who can identify this individual or who has knowledge of these incidents should call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential. A combined reward in the amount of $10,000 is being offered … Up to $3,500 payable by CrimeStoppers upon arrest and indictment and $6,500 payable by NYPD upon arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this incident.”