Manhunt for suspect in string of New York City homeless stabbings

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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Police continue to search for the suspect wanted in a string of stabbings targeting homeless victims in Manhattan.

WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police continue to search for the suspect wanted in a string of stabbings targeting homeless victims in Manhattan, and they are hoping new surveillance video will lead to an arrest.

The man is wanted for at least three stabbings, and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said she fears he may strike again.

"We need to get this killer off our streets as quickly and as safely as possible," she said. "These are senseless acts on defenseless people experiencing homelessness, and somebody knows this person."

Police say the suspect is targeting homeless men on the street and stabbing them in their sleep, and one of the victims was killed.

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Now, authorities are appealing to the public for help, releasing video that shows the man riding a Citibike belonging to his first victim, moments after he was killed.

The man was sleeping on a bench in Hudson River Park when he was stabbed in the abdomen around 3 a.m. on July 5 across from 374 West 11th Street.

Three days later, another man was stabbed on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 49th Street.

Then, three days after that, a third man was stabbed as he slept in a playground along the FDR Drive.

Those two men survived their injuries. In the second of those incidents, the suspect waited for several minutes before attacking the victim.

"This incident, caught on video, shows the perpetrator sitting on a bench for approximately 30 minutes while our victim is sleeping alone in the building line," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. "The perpetrator puts on a COVID mask, walks over and stabs our victim one time, and walks off."

The surveillance images are clear, and the suspect's reflective shoes are distinctive -- as is his sweatshirt, stamped with the words, "Innocence Project."

"Photos of the individual have been pushed out to all of our department's smartphones, so they are in the hands of all 35,000 police officers right now, who are searching for this individual," NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said.

Authorities are urging anyone with information in regard to these incidents to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

The Innocence Project released a statement regarding the suspect wearing a sweatshirt with their name.

"The Innocence Project is shocked and saddened by the recent attacks on some of the most vulnerable members of the New York City community," the statement read. "Over time, the Innocence Project has distributed thousands of sweatshirts bearing our logo and they are readily available for purchase on our website. We have not been contacted by any law enforcement organization."

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