Vigil held for homeless men brutally beaten to death in New York City

Vigil held for murdered homeless men

New York City — A vigil was held Monday in New York City for four homeless men who were beaten to death over the weekend. The accused killer is himself a homeless man. The incident is drawing new attention to the struggles of some.

Some half-a-million Americans are living in shelters or on the streets each night.

A cloud of grief still hangs over New York City's Chinatown neighborhood. Many there are still in shock over the brutal beating deaths Saturday night.

Cheun Kok was the oldest of the four victims. He was 83 years old.

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A vigil in New York City's Chinatown for four homeless men who were beaten to death. CBS New York

Randy Santos, a 24-year-old homeless man, was arrested soon after. He reportedly was still carrying the alleged murder weapon.

Randy Santos
Randy Santos is arraigned in criminal court for the murder of four homeless men, Sunday, October 6, 2019, in New York. He was ordered held without bail. AP

 
Surveillance video shows Santos wielding a metal object, beating the men as they slept on the street. Police say the attacks were random.
 
The incident has renewed focus on the country's vulnerable homeless population crisis.
 
Nationwide in 2018, there were 550,000 homeless people, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In New York City, there are more than 60,000 homeless people, according to the Coalition of the Homeless. In Los Angeles, it's more than 30,000, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

In 2018, there were 39 homeless people were killed in L.A., 10 more than 2017, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
 
"This can't be the best we can do," said Giselle Routhier of the Coalition of the Homeless. "We need deeply affordable housing for people who are homeless. We need the government to step in when our housing market is not fulfilling that gap for people."

In addition to the four men killed, a fifth homeless man who was also attacked remains in the hospital, fighting for his life. The suspect is facing four counts of murder and an attempted murder charge.