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Law enforcement authorities have launched a massive manhunt for a suspect who police say killed several homeless people in Washington, D.C., and New York City, officials said.
The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and the New York Police Department have partnered together with federal authorities, including the ATF, in an investigation to track down a suspect who is responsible for five shootings across two cities, resulting in two homicides, the MPD and NYPD said in a joint statement.
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“The most recent shootings occurred in New York City in the early morning hours of March 12. Both incidents involve homeless men who were sleeping on the street and were shot, without provocation, by a male suspect,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell and MPD Chief of Police Robert J. Contee III said.
Washington, D.C., incidents
The shooting incidents date back to March 3, when at approximately 4 a.m. NYPD officers responded to a dispatch call of reported gunshots. When they arrived at the scene, they found a male victim, who was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, they said.
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Five days later, also in the Fifth District, police responded to a shooting incident just after 1 a.m., where they similarly found a male victim with gunshot wounds, police said. The victim similarly had non-life-threatening injuries and was subsequently transported to a hospital, officials said.
A third shooting incident, just before 3 a.m. on March 9, resulted in the death of an adult male, who was deceased before authorities arrived on the scene, the NYPD said in a statement.
“As a result of an autopsy, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was multiple stab and gunshot wounds. The manner of death was ruled a Homicide,” the MPD and NYPD statement said.
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New York City incidents
Two other shooting incidents occurred in New York City on March 12.
In the first, around 4:30 a.m., an adult male was found alive with a gunshot in the arm and, in the second, around 5 p.m., a man was found dead with gunshots in his head and neck, police said.
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual [preying] on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime. We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice,” Sewell said in the joint statement.
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ATF Director Marvin Richardson added, via the statement: “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. 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 [sic] Washington DC and New York City. Our three agencies are one team.”
The five shootings are believed to be connected due to similarities between them.