WASHINGTON, DC — Five recent shootings of homeless men in Washington, D.C., and New York City are linked, according to police officials from both cities. Two of the shootings were fatal and deemed as homicides.
The Metropolitan Police Department and New York City Police Department, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced on Sunday that they were pursuing the same suspect in all five shootings due to similarities in the cases and evidence found at each of the crime scenes.
The five cases all involved homeless men who were sleeping on the street when they were shot by a male suspect.
“From the first incident, the Metropolitan Police has spared no resource in our efforts to identify the suspect behind these cowardly acts,” said MPD Chief Robert J. Contee in a release. “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 shootings began on March 3, when MPD officers found a man suffering from gunshot wounds around 4 a.m. in the 1100 block of New York Avenue, Northeast in D.C. The man was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
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Two other shootings occurred in the District. In the first, a man was treated for non-life-threatening injuries after being shot early last Tuesday, in the 1700 block of H Street, Northeast.
Early Wednesday morning, the body of the third shooting victim was discovered after D.C. Fire & EMS extinguished a tent fire in 400 block of New York Avenue, Northeast. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later determined the man had suffered multiple gunshot and stab wounds. His death was declared a homicide.
In New York City on Saturday, two other homeless men were shot, one fatally. The first victim, a 38-year-old man, was shot in the arm around 4:30 a.m., while he slept on King Street near Varick Street. The fifth victim died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the head and neck around 6 a.m.
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual preying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said, in a release. “We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice.”
Both police departments investigating the shootings released images and a video of the man they believe is responsible for the shootings.