The NYPD says the suspect shot the homeless man while he slept, and killed another homeless man in Manhattan on Saturday morning.
The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington announced on Sunday night that they are looking for the same person who is wanted for three incidents the northeastern part of the city from 3 to 9 March.
Investigators believe ballistic evidence found at the sites of the shootings in both cities links the incidents to a single firearm, law enforcement sources told ABC News. Images from the shell casings found and researched in both cities were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network ATF and obtained by witnesses based on a comparison of the unique markings on the shell casings found.
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Police have released photos of the suspected gunman from surveillance cameras, including one showing a man in a hood holding a gun in a blue glove.
The motives of the killer – if any – are unknown, and on Monday the authorities turned their attention to offering some protection to the homeless, who could become a target.
A video of surveillance from Howard Street in New York’s Chinatown shows an armed man beating one of his victims and looking around before opening fire around 6 a.m. Saturday.
The victim lay there all day until someone found him dead around 5pm in the bitter cold.
Another homeless man was shot dead Saturday on King and Warrick Streets but survived.
Meanwhile, the death of a 43-year-old homeless man in Tribeca on Sunday was not linked to the shootings.
There were no signs of crime, and an extensive video inspection found no evidence that the man was a victim of crime.
Detectives would wait for the autopsy before making a final decision, but believed it was an overdose.
With regard to the shooting of homeless men, Mayor Eric Adams and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a joint statement stating:
“Our communities in the District of Columbia and New York are heartbroken and concerned about these heinous crimes in which individuals have targeted some of our most vulnerable residents. We both talked about how our teams can coordinate and help each other, and we encourage everyone in our cities to look at pictures of the suspect and report any information, even small, that may be helpful. Urgent work to get this person off our streets before he hurts or kills another person. The rise of gun violence has shaken us all, and it is especially appalling to realize that someone is intentionally harming an already vulnerable population. As our law enforcement agencies are quickly working with federal partners to find the suspect, we are also urging vulnerable residents to seek asylum. Again, it is bitter and tragic to realize that in addition to all the dangers faced by homeless people, we now have a cold-blooded killer at large, but we are confident that the suspect will be picked up from the street by the police.».
Lawyers for the homeless say more needs to be done to protect vulnerable populations.
“The demonization of homeless people, the denigration and criminalization of people in deep poverty, fuel these types of tragedies,” said Jacqueline Simon, director of the Coalition for Homeless Policy. “Without housing, it’s very difficult for people to get on their feet, deal with drugs and mental illness and any other problems they face, and we see people decompensating on the streets.”
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On Sunday, New York City police issued new patrol instructions following incidents in New York City.
In an internal note, the officers were instructed to “actively interact with the apparently homeless,” conduct health checks, and offer asylum services.
Police are asking anyone who saw the suspect on surveillance video to contact the crime hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or in Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also send tips by visiting the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or posting to Twitter @NYPDTips.
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