Police believe that one man is responsible for a recent string of shootings targeting people experiencing homelessness in New York City and Washington, D.C. The suspect is believed to have carried out five shootings, two of them fatal, in the month of March, police said.
"Given the similarity in the modus operandi of the perpetrator, common circumstances involved in each shooting, circumstances of the victims and recovered evidence, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will jointly investigate these offenses," the NYPD and MPD announced Sunday in a joint statement.
In a joint press conference Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York Mayor Eric Adams called for the public's help in identifying the suspect. Police have released images of the person they believe to be responsible and are offering a $70,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest and conviction.
Bowser also encouraged residents experiencing homelessness to seek shelter inside while police continue to search for the suspect.
"Homelessness should not be a homicide," Adams said Monday. "This was a cold blooded attack. When you look at the premeditative actions of this shooter, it sends a clear and loud message that we need the help from the public."
"Someone knows this person," Adams continued. "We're asking for the public to find him. We don't want to lose another resident in this city, in New York or anywhere else."
The first three shootings took place in Washington, D.C., over the course of the last two weeks. A man who was sleeping on the street was shot in the early morning of March 3. He was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries that were not life threatening, police said. A similar incident happened again on March 8, and again, the victim's injures were not life threatening.
At around 3 a.m. the following day, a MPD officer noticed a tent fire. After the fire was extinguished, the remains of another victim were found and an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple gunshot and stab wounds, police said.
Two more victims were shot Saturday in New York City. The first, a 38-year-old man, was shot in the arm at around 4:30 a.m. The second victim was discovered around 5 p.m. after police responded to a call about a person suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and neck. That victim was pronounced dead at the scene police said, adding that witnesses in the area said they had heard gunshots about 11 hours earlier.
"Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual praying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement Sunday. "We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice."
Another person experiencing homelessness was found dead in New York City on Sunday, CBS New York, but it is unclear at this time if that death is related to the five shootings.
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