DC police arrests man suspected of killing homeless people in series of attacks

DC police arrests man suspected of killing homeless people in series of attacks
Attacks have seen authorities warning unhoused people to leave streets and seek shelter

Police in Washington, DC say they have arrested a man suspected of attacking people sleeping rough in the capital and New York City in a string of incidents that law enforcement are treating as connected.

In an announcement issued via Twitter, the DC Police Department wrote that “Early this AM, law enforcement arrested the suspect in Washington, DC. He is currently being interviewed at our Homicide Branch. Additional information will be forthcoming. Thanks to the community for all your tips.”

The suspect in the attacks was pictured on multiple CCTV cameras in both cities. Residents were warned not to approach him, and authorities warned those sleeping rough to seek shelter.

The attacks under investigation included two incidents in New York in the small hours of 13 March in which the NYPD said the suspect approach “two homeless individuals on the street” before shooting both of them, killing one.

Footage of the attacks, which began on 3 March, sparked speculation about a serial killer being active in the two cities. Mayors Muriel Bowser and Eric Adams gave a joint briefing yesterday in which they urged witnesses to come forward.

As the NYPD offered a combined $10,000 award for information leading to an arrest, the New York mayor’s response to the violent incidents quickly became a matter of controversy. Homelessness charities spoke out against Mr Adams for adding pressure on homeless people to leave the streets having already begun rolling out a “zero tolerance” policy towards rough sleepers, including a ban on lying across seats on subway trains.

The Coalition for the Homeless said the recent shootings were “an urgent reminder that many unsheltered New Yorkers choose to bed down in the subways because that is where they feel the most safe in the absence of housing and low-barrier shelters”.