Police have charged a man with killing four homeless men in Chinatown this weekend.
24-year-old Randy Santos has been charged with four counts of murder, and one count of attempted murder. Santos, who is also homeless, was arrested yesterday shortly after four men were discovered dead on various streets of Chinatown early in the morning.
Investigators say the victims were sleeping on the street, vulnerable and unsuspecting.
That's when, police say, Santos beat their heads repeatedly with a pipe, with so much force that four of them died at the scene. A fifth victim was also severely hurt, according to authorities.
"Officers immediately began canvassing the area for the suspect,” said Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes at a press conference Saturday. “At Mulberry Street and Canal Street, a male fitting description was observed carrying the metal object. The officers placed that male in custody and recovered the metal object without further incident.”
Police say the incident occurred just after 1:30 a.m. in the morning. The NYPD responded to a 911 call, and found the dead bodies scattered, some on East Broadway and the others on Bowery Street.
The surviving victim was able to talk to police before he was rushed to Downtown Medical Center. He's in critical condition fighting for his life. Police say the victims of the surprise attack were randomly targeted and bludgeoned to death for no reason. People in the area say they're stunned by the violent rampage.
"That's totally unlike anything I've ever seen in this neighbor,” said one local. “I've been here for a while. I've never seen any violence at all."
Police had to close off several streets in one of the busiest parts of Manhattan to try to figure out what set the man off.
People in the area say there are often large groups of homeless people sleeping outside. And that they've seen a few fights here.
"It's not one on two when you come here. If you come, especially in the summer, you see 20, 30 people over here, all young kids,” said one local.
But they’ve never anything as horrifying as this.
"I was homeless before and how can you do that to a homeless person,” another man told NY1. "We all try to live together. We have from different backgrounds, different lives, but we are all human."