A 24-year-old man is now in custody after being spotted with a metal pipe near the crime scenes

By Laura Barcella
October 05, 2019 12:30 PM
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Chinatown
Credit: Jeenah Moon/AP/Shutterstock

Four homeless men were killed as they slept in and around New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood early Saturday morning, NYPD Chief Stephen J. Hughes and Chief Michael Baldassano said at a press conference on Saturday morning.

A fifth homeless man was also injured in the series of violent attacks. He remains in critical condition.

A 24-year-old male person of interest is now in custody, detectives said.

Cops were notified of the incidents a little before 2 a.m., when someone called 911 to report the attack. Two witnesses told responding officers that a man had “struck the victims in the head with a metal object.”

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Officers canvassed the area and eventually found the suspect about a quarter of a mile away. He was wearing a black jacket and black pants and was carrying a metal pipe, Chief Baldassano said.

The NYPD believes the suspect is a homeless individual himself.

There appears to be no concrete motive as of now, Chief Baldassano said: “[They were] random attacks … not motivated by race or age.”

After arresting the suspect, responding officers continued to canvas the neighborhood, where additional deceased victims were found.

All of the men appeared to be sleeping at the time of the violence, Baldassano said, and all of them suffered severe head trauma.

It is still “very early” in the investigation, Baldassano noted. The NYPD requests that anyone with information about the incident to call the NYPD tip line.

Spokespersons for the NYPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.