Police in New York City arrested a homeless man in connection with the deaths of four other homeless men.
The men were beaten to death with a metal pipe overnight while they slept on the streets in Chinatown, authorities said.
Officers responded to a 911 call around 1:50 a.m. on Saturday and found an unconscious man lying in the street with “severe head trauma,” Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes said at a news conference Saturday morning.
While investigating the initial crime scene, a second man with head trauma approached officers, Hughes said.
Witnesses told the officers a man in a black jacket, and black pants struck the unconscious victim in the head with a metal pipe several times before fleeing the scene.
The conscious man was then taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, while the unconscious man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers canvassing the area found a 24-year-old man matching the eyewitnesses’ descriptions carrying a metal pipe near Mulberry Street and Canal Street soon after, Hughes said.
According to CNN, the suspect was identified as 24-year-old Randy Rodriguez Santos, who was also homeless, authorities said.
Santos, who police said has been arrested at least six other times, has also been charged with attempted murder and unlawful possession of marijuana, Detective Ahmed Nasser said.
The ages of three of the four victims killed in Saturday’s attacks are 45, 50, and 83. The age of the fourth male victim is still unknown. A fifth man who was injured and survived in the attack is 49, Nasser said.
Police said that all four bodies were found in roughly a two-block area, but investigators believe the attacks were random. Since then, Mayor Bill de Blasio has revealed that the city is set to increase its homeless outreach efforts in Chinatown in the wake of the incident.
“What happened over the weekend shakes the conscience of who we are as New Yorkers,” the Mayor said in a statement. “We are sending experts to the neighborhood to provide support during this difficult time, and will continue to assess how to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future,” de Blasio added, in an effort to “ensure the safety and well-being of the surrounding community.” As part of the Mayor’s plan, he said the city will deploy mental health outreach teams to the neighborhood “to provide emotional support and connect people to mental health and other supportive social services.”