Video of the first shooting shows a man who appeared to be homeless sleeping near the corner of King Street and Varick when an unknown suspect approached and shot him in his forearm, NYPD Deputy Chief Commanding Officer Henry Sautner said during a news conference. The man woke up and shouted, “What are you doing?” at the shooter, who then ran away, Sautner added.
Police were called to the scene around 4:30 am and the 38-year-old victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.
A second shooting involving a person who was apparently homeless happened around 6:00 am outside of 148 Lafayette Street, police said. Officers found the man in a sleeping bag with gunshot wounds to his head and neck and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Sautner said.
Video surveillance of this shooting shows a suspect approaching the sleeping victim and firing his weapon, police said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams called surveillance videos “chilling” and “horrific,” and said the shootings were “an intentional act of taking the life of someone that appears because he was homeless.”
“Watching the video, watching an individual intentionally walk up to innocent people that are dealing with the challenges of homelessness,” Adams said. “It is quite possible that one of our citizens is still alive merely because he woke up.”
New York City also recorded a 41% increase in overall major crime through the first months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, including a nearly 54% increase in robberies, a 56% increase in grand larceny incidents and a 22% increase in rape reports, the data shows.
Murders increased by 10%, while citywide shooting incidents decreased by 1.3%, with 77 incidents in February 2021 and 76 incidents last month, NYPD data shows.
CNN’s Liam Reilly, Emma Tucker and Mark Morales contributed to this report.