A suspect has been arrested in connection with the shootings of 5 homeless men in New York City and DC

Originally Published: 15 MAR 22 00:46 ET
Updated: 15 MAR 22 06:42 ET

    (CNN) -- Police in Washington, DC, have arrested the suspect wanted in connection with at least five separate shootings of homeless men in New York City and Washington, they said Tuesday.

"Early this AM, law enforcement arrested the suspect in Washington. He is currently being interviewed at our Homicide Branch. Additional information will be forthcoming. Thanks to the community for all your tips," DC Police tweeted.

The shootings took place between March 3 and March 12 and left two men dead, the New York Police Department and Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said in a joint statement.

Each shooting happened during overnight hours, authorities said. Three of the shootings happened in Washington, followed by two more in New York.

Here's what we know about the shootings:

Shootings occurred after midnight

The first shooting took place in Washington, around 4 a.m. on March 3 in the 1100 block of New York Avenue Northeast, the MPD said Sunday in a statement. Officers responded to a call of shots fired and found a man suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. He was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, the statement said.

The second shooting was reported around 1:21 a.m. on March 8 in the 1700 block of H Street Northeast, MPD said. Officers found another man suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, and he was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Then, around 2:54 a.m. on March 9, a MPD member noticed a fire in the 400 block of New York Avenue Northeast, and a man's remains were discovered after the flames were extinguished. The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab and gunshot wounds, police said.

The fourth and fifth shootings occurred in New York City early Saturday, March 12, when the suspect opened fire on two apparently homeless people who were sleeping on the street, killing one and wounding the other, the NYPD said.

The shootings happened about 90 minutes apart in Lower Manhattan and were caught on surveillance cameras, the department said. The NYPD described what the videos showed but did not release them to CNN.

One video shows a man who appears to be experiencing homelessness sleeping near the corner of King Street and Varick when an unknown suspect approaches and shoots him in his forearm, NYPD Deputy Chief Commanding Officer Henry Sautner said Saturday during a news conference. The man wakes up and shouts, "What are you doing?" at the shooter, who then runs away, Sautner added.

Police were called to the scene around 4:30 a.m., and the 38-year-old victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Investigators became aware of another shooting Saturday outside 148 Lafayette Street. There, officers found a man in a sleeping bag with gunshot wounds to his head and neck, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Sautner said. Surveillance video shows a suspect approaching the sleeping victim around 6 a.m. and discharging a weapon, Sautner said.

Ballistics helped investigators link the cases

The NYPD and MPD cited similar circumstances and characteristics linking the attacks, though they did not release specific details.

A ballistics match helped law enforcement connect the shootings, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser told Bloomberg on Monday.

Before the suspected was arrested, Bowser asked unsheltered residents in New York City and Washington, to seek shelter. New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell joined Bowser at a news conference Monday in Washington.

"It is particularly horrible to know that someone is out there deliberately doing harm to an already vulnerable population," the mayors said Sunday in a joint statement.

NYC and DC officials working to protect vulnerable population

The NYPD directed its members to do wellness checks on people who appear homeless, according to a Sunday memo obtained by CNN.

"Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual preying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime," Sewell said.

"We know that this is a scary situation," Bowser said Monday evening at the news conference. "We know that our unsheltered residents already face a lot of daily dangers and it is unconscionable that anybody would target this vulnerable population."

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