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Attacks on homeless people in New York, Washington, may be linked

Police in both cities believe the same person is responsible for a series of five attacks in which two men have died.
/ Source: NBC News

Police in New York City and Washington, D.C., announced late Sunday that they’re on the hunt for a person who they believe has killed two people and injured three others in a string of attacks against homeless people.

The latest violence they believe is connected to the person happened early Saturday in New York when two men sleeping on streets were shot in separate attacks carried out by the same person, police in both cities said in a joint statement.

The first of those shootings happened at roughly 4:30 a.m. and left a man wounded. The second happened around 6 a.m., but the victim wasn’t discovered until evening, when someone reported a man on the street with gunshot wounds, the departments said.

That victim was declared dead at the scene, police said. His is one of two homicides believed to be connected, authorities said.

The first three attacks happened in Washington, D.C.: a 4 a.m. shooting March 3 in which the victim survived, a 1:21 a.m. shooting Tuesday in which the victim survived, and a Wednesday death discovered when a Metropolitan Police Department officer spotted a tent fire, according to the joint statement.

After firefighters knocked down the blaze, a body was discovered, police said. The city’s medical examiner determined the man died as a result of gunshot wounds or stab wounds.

None of the victims’ identities were available.

Police said they were being joined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the hunt for a suspect.

Authorities did not provide a written description of the man they think is the killer, but they distributed screen-capture photos taken from security video.

In a joint statement late Sunday New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said finding the suspect was a top priority.

“It is heartbreaking and tragic to know that in addition to all the dangers that unsheltered residents face, we now have a cold-blooded killer on the loose, but we are certain that we will get the suspect off the street and into police custody,” the mayors said.

In December police in Miami announced the arrest of Willy Maceo Suarez, 25, on allegations of murder and attempted murder of two homeless men who had been shot.

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