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(Video Credit: Eyewitness News ABC7NY)
The homeless of New York City and Washington, D.C. are reportedly being stalked by a “cold-blooded killer” and Mayors Eric Adams and Muriel Bowser are warning them to get off the streets and seek shelter while he’s on the loose after shooting at least five vagrants.
A masked man is apparently hunting the homeless, going after those sleeping as his preferred victims, according to the New York Post. There have been a series of allegedly related shootings in D.C. and New York City in March that have left two men dead and three others wounded.
Both Adams and Bowser are coordinating with federal authorities to investigate and capture the killer before he brazenly strikes again.
“The work to get this individual off our streets before he hurts or murders another individual is urgent,” the mayors jointly proclaimed in a statement released on Sunday.
“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,” they collectively said, not addressing that the killer is also using a knife.
“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,” the statement asserted.
A joint investigation with @NYPDnews leads to a suspect sought in at least 5 shooting incidents involving homeless victims in DC & NYC. Both departments are investigating these incidents jointly, along with our partnership with @ATFHQ.
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) March 14, 2022
Adams said watching the CCTV footage of the shootings was “chilling,” and he described it as a “cold-blooded act of murder.”
“The case is a clear and horrific intentional act of taking the life of someone, it appears, because he was homeless,” he concluded, according to Buzzfeed News.
“This was an intentional murder. This individual approached the two men, one at a time, you see him looking around, making sure no one was around, kicking the homeless person to make sure they were not asleep and just assassinated him,” Adams noted during a separate news conference on Sunday. “It was just something you would not imagine would take place in our city.”
“We’re also mobilizing on the streets to notify our homeless to try and get them in shelters, those who want to do so,” he said. “Being homeless should not turn into a homicide and I want to catch this guy bad.”
(Video Credit: NYC Mayor’s Office)
It is believed that three homeless men in D.C. were attacked between March 3 and March 9. One of them died after being shot and stabbed. The suspect is believed to have migrated to Manhattan where he allegedly shot two other homeless men on Saturday in Soho. He shot his latest victim point-blank in the head.
There has been another incident in Tribeca where a homeless man was found dead in a sleeping bag but authorities are not certain yet if it is one of the serial shooter’s kills. The vagrant was found with an apparent pelvis wound on the sidewalk on Sunday night, according to the New York Post.
A combined reward in the amount of $10,000 is being offered in regard to the below listed incident. Up to $3,500 payable by @NYPDTips upon arrest and indictment and $6,500 payable by NYPD upon arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this incident. https://t.co/NEZacMFhUk
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 13, 2022
The NYPD has issued an internal memo issuing new patrol guidelines after the shootings. Officers are now directed to “proactively engage with apparently homeless individuals,” conduct wellness checks, and offer shelter services.
Police are also being instructed to warn vulnerable people of the killings and show them wanted posters of the stalker, according to the guidelines.
“From the first incident, the Metropolitan Police has spared no resource in our efforts to identify the suspect behind these cowardly acts,” stated MPD Chief Robert Contee, according to CNN. “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.”
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual praying (sic) on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell remarked in a statement on Sunday, according to CNN.
“We will use every tool, every technique, and every partner to bring the killer to justice,” he vowed.
The shooter who wears a black balaclava is unidentified and remains at large in New York City. There is a $55,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect with the MPD offering a reward of up to $25,000, the NYPD offering $10,000, and the ATF Washington Field Division chipping in an additional $20,000.
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