(NEW YORK) — Police in New York City and Washington are jointly investigating the shootings of five homeless people across both cities that they said may have been committed by the same suspect.
Because of similarities in “the modus operandi of the perpetrator, common circumstances involved in each shooting, circumstances of the victims and recovered evidence,” the two departments will jointly investigate the shootings with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, they said in a Sunday news release.
The first shootings occurred in Washington on March 3, 8 and 9. The victim found on March 9 was discovered by police when they were responding to a tent fire in the city’s northeast. He succumbed to stab and gunshot wounds, according to an autopsy.
The two shootings in New York occurred on March 12. One victim was injured and another was killed, according to the joint news release.
NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III said in the news release that they are committed to safety for homeless individuals and to finding the suspect in the shootings.
“Our homeless population is one of our most vulnerable and an individual praying on them as they sleep is an exceptionally heinous crime,” Sewell said in a statement.
“We are committed to sharing every investigative path, clue and piece of evidence with our law enforcement partners to bring this investigation to a swift conclusion and the individual behind these vicious crimes to justice,” Contee said.
Both communities “are heartbroken and disturbed by these heinous crimes in which an individual has been targeting some of our most vulnerable residents,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement on Sunday.
“It is heartbreaking and tragic to know that in addition to all the dangers that unsheltered residents face, we now have a cold-blooded killer on the loose, but we are certain that we will get the suspect off the street and into police custody,” they said.
The mayors said they spoke on Sunday about their cities working together on the investigation.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.
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