Document: Police Investigate Shootings of Homeless Men in New York, Washington

Metropolitan Police Department and New York Police Department are investigating five shootings in Washington and New York City that they believe were committed by the same person. Two of these shootings were fatal and all of the victims were experiencing homelessness at the time they were shot.

At approximately 2:54 a.m. on March 9, an MPD officer on the 400 block of New York Avenue, NE, saw a tent fire, according to a press release. Emergency responders found an adult male dead. After an autopsy was performed on him, the cause of death was ruled to be multiple stab and gunshot wounds, according to a press release.

Two non-fatal shootings of homeless victims took place in Washington as well- one on the 1100 block of New York Avenue, NE, during the early hours of March 3 and another on the 1700 block of H Street, NE, during the early hours of March 8.

“From the first incident, the Metropolitan Police has spared no resource in our efforts to identify the suspect behind these cowardly acts,” said MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III. “We are committed to sharing every investigative path, clue and piece of evidence with our law enforcement partners to bring this investigation to a swift conclusion and the individual behind these vicious crimes to justice.”  

The other two shootings took place in New York City and one of them was fatal.

On the evening of March 12, New York City police responded to a 911 call for an unidentified male shooting victim. The victim was found with gunshot wounds to the chest and neck and pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses in the area reported hearing gunshots at approximately 6:00 a.m., according to a press release.  

“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual praying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “We will use every tool, every technique and every partner to bring the killer to justice.”  

The NYPD and MPD are joining the ATF to investigate these offenses.

“Our Washington and New York City field offices have been working hand-in-hand with the DC metropolitan police and the New York Police Department from the outset,” said ATF Director Marvin Richardson. “One of these shootings occurred within blocks of our Washington DC headquarters. We have used our advanced ATF systems to conduct real-time analysis backed up by our ATF National Lab in Maryland to expedite the evidence and assist in the investigations and Washington DC and New York City. Our three agencies are one team.”