‘We need to find this person’: Cops desperate to stop murderer targeting homeless people in Manhattan

Police want New York’s homeless population to seek temporary shelter immediately as they track down a ruthless murderer in Manhattan specifically targeting unhoused individuals.

Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Henry Sautner, commanding officer of the Manhattan South Detective Bureau, revealed details about the series of disturbing attacks during a Saturday evening press conference at the 13th Precinct stationhouse in Gramercy.

According to Sautner, a 38-year-old Hispanic homeless man was sleeping at the corner of King and Varick Streets in SoHo at 4:30 a.m. on March 12 when an unknown man approached the sleeping individual and fired a round, wounding the rough sleeper. The man awoke screaming, causing the gunman to flee.

The victim was rushed to Bellevue Hospital for treatment; but hours later, another homeless man targeted by the gunman wouldn’t be so lucky.

At around 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, police received 911 calls regarding an unconscious man outside 148 Lafayette St. Responding officers discovered an unhoused man inside a sleeping bag with gunshot wounds to his head and neck. EMS pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Chief Henry Sautner revealed the series of disturbing attacks late Saturday. Photo by Dean Moses

Based on the preliminary investigation, Chief Sautner explained, detectives believe the second man was shot at about 6 a.m. on March 12, when the shooter approached the displaced man, brandished a gun and opened fire. 

“I am here to send a very clear message that all New Yorkers matter,” Mayor Adams said. “Two individuals were shot while sleeping on the street, not committing a crime, for sleeping on the streets. A total abandonment and betrayal of trust for this action to have taken place in a manner that it did. Video is chilling to see a cold-blooded act of murder.”

Despite the mayor’s new Neighborhood Safety Units scheduled to hit the streets on March 14, Adams said he will be asking officers to scour the subways for known homeless encampments in order to make safety checks in addition to asking the homeless to enter shelters until the killer is apprehended.

“We’re going to take extra steps to encourage individuals to go into the shelters for safety reasons, as well as the current weather condition,” Adams stated.

Mayor Adams requests the public’s assistance in bringing the killer to justice. Photo by Dean Moses

With both homelessness and the mental health crisis being a citywide, contentious issue as of late, amNewYork Metro asked to respond to the recent demonization of New York’s have-nots.

“The demonization of homeless people is the wrong mindset. Thereby the grace of God goes I. These are brothers and sisters who have fallen on hard times. We have an obligation to provide them with the services that they deserve. That is why we have a right to shelter law here in our city,” Adams said.

Both NYPD officials and the mayor are pleading with the public with any information regarding the assassin to contact the police and help get the callous murderer off the streets. A combine reward of $10,000 is being offered to anyone who can help put the gunman behind bars. 

CrimeStoppers is offering $3,500 upon arrest and indictment while the NYPD is pledging $6,500  upon arrest and conviction of the killer.

“We need to find this person and we need New Yorkers to help us,” Adams said.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this male can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.