(CBS NEWS)- Four homeless men were beaten to death by a man wielding a metal pipe in New York City, police said. A fifth victim, who was believed to be homeless, was hospitalized with injuries.
A 24-year-old person of interest was taken into custody. NYPD officers have recovered the murder weapon and said the man in custody is also homeless.
Police responded to reports of a fight at 1:40 a.m. Saturday in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, where first responders discovered a victim who suffered trauma to his head. They discovered three other victims just a block away. Police said the victims were apparently sleeping when the attack occurred.
The fifth victim, a 49-year-old male, was hospitalized in serious condition. Police planned to hold a news conference on Saturday morning with updates on the killings.
“It is very scary, you know, because I walk through here all the time, going to the library and everything,” resident Carla Williams told CBS New York.
Police said the motive appears to be a random attack and not a hate crime.
As of August, there were 61,674 homeless people living in New York City shelters, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. The advocacy group said “thousands of unsheltered homeless people” sleep on the city’s streets every night.