A man wearing a balaclava shot two people who are homeless, killing one of them, in separate incidents early Saturday morning in New York City, police said.
The masked individual first shot a man sleeping on a street in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood shortly before 5 a.m. ET. The man was shot in the arm, woke up, and screamed, "What are you doing?," prompting the attacker to flee.
Approximately an hour later, the same masked man was filmed on security cameras shooting another sleeping man in the head and neck several blocks away, police said. The man's body, which was inside a sleeping bag, was not discovered until Saturday afternoon.
Police pleaded with New Yorkers to provide any information that would help catch the killer.
"We're talking about two individuals that are homeless, the most vulnerable people in the city right now," NYPD Deputy Chief Hank Sautner told reporters Saturday evening. "We have extended no shortage of manpower to get this investigation on track."
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said watching the CCTV footage was "chilling," and he described it as a "cold-blooded act of murder."
"The case is a clear and horrific intentional act of taking the life of someone, it appears, because he was homeless," Adams said.
The mayor said police officers and homeless outreach officials would be trying to find people experiencing homelessness and urging them to seek refuge at shelters to protect themselves from both the masked shooter and freezing winter temperatures.
In 2019, four men experiencing homelessness were beaten to death by a man with a metal pole as they slept in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood. The suspect was another man who was unhoused and who has pleaded not guilty to murder.
In 2021, a man was charged with vehicular manslaughter and a felony DUI after he crashed his car into an encampment of unsheltered people in San Diego.