Security at hotels used as homeless shelters questioned in wake of family's stabbing

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A manhunt is underway for Michael Sykes. He's wanted for questioning in the stabbing of her mother and her three children on Staten Island.

26-year-old Rebecca Cutler, her 1-year-old daughter and 4-month-old daughter were killed. Only her 2-year-old daughter survived and she's in the hospital in critical condition.

All of this happened at a hotel that is used to shelter homeless families and now there are new questions about security at that hotel.

The mayor called this "horrific". The police commissioner's word was "heinous". This young mother moved in to the Ramada Inn with her three baby girls in early December.

It is a regular hotel, one like many others, routinely nowadays used to house those by the city who do not have any place to stay.

The city has 41 hotels housing homeless like the Ramada which is where the stabbings happened.

Because these businesses are private, they generally, according to the mayor, have security overnight, not during the day, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The stabbings happened before 9 a.m. Wednesday, three hours after security left.

"Starting tomorrow, we'll offer security to them that they can have in their buildings. That will be available immediately at no charge to the hotel," Mayor de Blasio said.

The mayor said this particular hotel had been used for the homeless since August of last year.

There are four such homeless hotels on Staten Island. The cost per night is $158. That is the set city rate.

"2,656 people homeless people in those hotels, 637 are children. The length of stay is limited. It is two weeks or so, typically on average. Again, our goal is to increasingly no longer use those hotels," Mayor de Blasio said.

For most, he says the stay is shorter than this family had been there.

They checked in on December 6th. The mother, police say, had never made a domestic violence complaint.

"We're adding additional 700 domestic violence beds and that's addressing a need that's built up over many years in terms of additional domestic violence beds," said Steven Banks, NYC Dept. of Social Services.
It appears a lot of changes continue to be in the works.

These hotels, to be clear, are privately run.

They are private and as such they must accept the city's immediate offer to provide round-the-clock security which is why the mayor said he will be offering it immediately, and police from the Department of Homeless Services would be the ones providing that security.
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