Hours after New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his Washington D.C. counterpart announced a $70,000 reward for information on a "depraved" man who has allegedly shot five homeless people in both cities — two fatally — since March 3, police said early Tuesday that they had arrested a suspected gunman.
The man was arrested in Washington, D.C., and he was being interviewed by police, the Metropolitan Police Department said on Twitter.
In a joint news conference Monday, Adams and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that investigators with their police departments and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had identified one man as the shooter in the five incidents.
"We believe there are five separate shootings linked to the same suspect," Bowser told reporters. "In all cases the victims were men experiencing homelessness and sleeping outside. It is unconscionable that anybody would target this vulnerable population."
A visibly angry Adams said: "This person is carrying out a premeditated act of shooting innocent people. He must be brought to justice. We will bring him to justice and if he is watching, we are telling him to turn himself him."
Officials announced a $70,000 reward from both cities and a special telephone number, 202-727-9099, for anonymous tips. Anyone with information can also text it to 50411.
Bowser said good detective work has produced quality images of the suspect. The man depicted in the images appeared to be tall and thin. In the New York shootings, the suspect wore a head covering and face mask but at other times did not wear anything obscuring his face.
"What we know is we have a depraved person targeting our [homeless] residence, we know that," said Chief of Police Robert J. Contee III, of Washington D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department.
NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell said that chiefs of police from other major cities on the East Coast exchanged information about any similar incidents. Contee said so far there had been no other incidents uncovered outside of those in Washington D.C and New York.
The New York City attacks occurred Saturday. In one, on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan, an unidentified man was fatally shot in the neck and head as he slept in a yellow sleeping bag. A video released by police showed a tall man, dressed in dark clothing, a hood and face mask approach the sleeping man, look around and then point a gun, apparently fire and quickly leave the scene.
A second attack earlier Saturday left a 38-year-old man wounded in the arm after he was shot while sleeping at the intersection of King and Varick Streets, according to the NYPD. The man was expected to recover, police said.
A third man sleeping at the intersection of Greenwich and Murray Streets in Manhattan was found dead late Sunday. But police were careful not to label the death as related to the previous two city attacks. A spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner said late Monday that the cause and manner of third man's death was pending further study following an autopsy.
The three Washington D.C. attacks took place on March 3, last Tuesday, and on Wednesday. Three homeless men were shot, police said. Two of the victims suffered nonlife threatening wounds but the Wednesday shooting victim died from his injuries, according to police.
The man whose image was captured on videos in Washington D.C. and is suspected in the shootings, is also responsible for the Manhattan attacks, authorities said.
While some investigators expressed concern that a serial killer might be on the loose, police said that three deaths needed to be linked to have the cases labeled as being carried out by a serial killer.
With the AP