Two recent shootings of homeless men on the streets of Lower Manhattan have been connected to a similar pattern of gun violence in the nation’s capitol, law enforcement sources said Sunday evening.
The NYPD, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have launched a joint investigation the pattern of five shootings, two of which occurred in SoHo on Saturday evening. The other three occurred in Washington, DC between March 3-9 — one of which was a homicide.
It’s not known yet whether a second suspected shooting death of a homeless man in Lower Manhattan on Sunday night is connected to the interstate pattern.
The joint investigation was launched, according to a joint statement the NYPD released on Sunday evening, because of the similarity in the perpetrator’s modus operandi, and commonality of the circumstances, victims and evidence recovered in each shooting.
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable, and an individual preying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in the statement. “We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice.”
Regarding Saturday’s homicide, at about 4:30 p.m. on March 12, cops found a homeless man with bullet wounds to his head and neck outside 138 Lafayette St. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hours earlier, a 38-year-old unhoused man took a bullet to his arm on King Street off Varick Street. The victim was brought to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
“Both incidents involve homeless men who were sleeping on the street and were shot, without provocation, by a male suspect,” according to the joint statement from the NYPD, ATF and DC Metropolitan Police Department issued Sunday evening.
The deadly shooting in Washington, DC occurred during the early morning hours of March 9 along New York Avenue, about a mile east of the White House grounds.
Local police and fire department personnel found the unidentified male victim with multiple stab and gunshot wounds while responding to a tent fire at the location.
“Our Washington and New York City field offices have been working hand-in-hand with the DC metropolitan police and the New York Police Department from the outset,” said ATF Director Marvin Richardson. “One of these shootings occurred within blocks of our Washington DC headquarters. We have used our advanced ATF systems to conduct real-time analysis backed up by our ATF National Lab in Maryland to expedite the evidence and assist in the investigations and Washington DC and New York City. Our three agencies are one team.”
A combined reward of $10,000 is being offered in New York for the arrest, indictment and conviction of the murder suspect. The Washington, DC Police Department is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the DC killings.
Anyone with information regarding the homeless shootings can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.