NEW YORK — A man wanted in a string of shootings targeting men experiencing homelessness in New York and Washington was arrested early Tuesday, police said.
The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, said in a tweet Tuesday morning a suspect was arrested in the district and being interviewed at the department’s homicide offices.
At least five men were shot, two fatally, since March 3 in a series of attacks that police in both cities said were connected. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said the shootings were connected.
The NYPD said the departments were jointly investigating given the similar circumstances of the shootings, evidence recovered and “information from ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.”
Both NYPD and Metro police had no additional information about the arrest early Tuesday
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“We promised that we’d bring this killer to justice. We kept that promise,” Mayor Eric Adams of New York tweeted Tuesday.
“We know that this experience has been especially scary for our residents experiencing homelessness. Our work continues to end homelessness and ensure all residents have access to safe and affordable housing,” Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington added in a statement.
Three men were shot in separate incidents in Washington between March 3 and March 9, the departments said. One man was found dead when a police officer spotted a tent on fire.
In New York, two men around the SoHo neighborhood were shot in separate incidents. One man yelled after he was shot in the forearm and the suspect ran away, NYPD Deputy Chief Hank Saunter said at a news conference Saturday. Video showed the moment the suspect shot the other man, and police later said he was found dead with gunshot wounds to the head.
Adams and Bowser called the suspect a “cold-blooded killer” and the shootings “heartbreaking and tragic.”
Advocates for people experiencing homelessness said the killings are a grim reminder of the vulnerability and stigmatization facing the homeless population on a daily basis.
In New York City, nearly 50,000 people experiencing homelessness were in shelters in December, according to New York’s Coalition for the Homeless. Last year, there were about 5,000 people experiencing homelessness in Washington, according to the nonprofit Community Partnership.
Addressing homelessness has become a focal point of public safety efforts in New York City after a number of targeted attacks against women of Asian descent. However, advocates say people experiencing homelessness are far more likely to be the victims of crimes than perpetrate crimes themselves.
Contributing: Grace Hauck