4 homeless men dead, 1 critical after vicious Chinatown attacks; 24-year-old suspect has lengthy rap sheet

Adam Warner
October 05, 2019 - 5:00 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) – A man wielding a metal pipe killed four men and critically injured a fifth man in vicious attacks on the streets of Chinatown early Saturday morning.

A 24-year-old suspect was arrested nearby on the Bowery without incident after the brutal attacks at three different locations in the neighborhood.

Police say the suspect had a metal stud, often used in construction, at the time of his arrest. He was described as wearing a black jacket and black pants that helped police find him quickly and arrest him.

Homeless men attacked
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Chief of Manhattan South Detectives Michael Baldassano said at a Saturday news conference that the men were attacked at random with the object that authorities recovered.

The chief said the suspect is homeless and that his actions appear to have been "random attacks" rather than motivated by race or age. 

The first victim, a 60-year-old man, was discovered near the Bowery and Doyers Street around 2:15 a.m. He had blunt force trauma to his head, the NYPD said.

Homeless men attacked
AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

A 49-year-old man who was critically injured was found nearby. EMS rushed him to Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was fighting for his life Saturday.

Three more men were found dead about a block away—one outside 2 East Broadway and another outside 17 East Broadway. All had died from blunt force trauma to their heads, according to police.

Images published by the New York Post show one of the victims in a blood-splattered doorway and another lying under a sheet on a sidewalk.

Police said Saturday morning that there didn’t appear to be any motive for the beatings and they were investigating them as random attacks. 

NYPD officers were canvassing the area for more victims later on Saturday morning. Citizen App video shows several streets blocked off with crime tape.

Homeless men attacked
AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

Two law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Randy Rodriguez Santos, 24. He has a history of arrests for assault. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because criminal charges hadn't yet been finalized.

Santos has been arrested at least a half-dozen other times in the past two years, three times on assault charges.

Giselle Routhier, a policy director from Coalition for the Homeless, said the "callous attack against five homeless men last night is unfathomable in its brutality."

"It should serve as a reminder to all of us that our homeless neighbors live without the protection and privacyof a home. They are our fellow human beings and deserve the dignity and safety that a home assures," the statement reads. 

Routhier said the city and state should build enough subsidized housing for homeless people "to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again."

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