What to Know
- Man charged with murder in rampage that left four men dead and another injured in Chinatown was indicted on murder, prosecutors say
- Randy Santos, 24, was indicted at Manhattan Criminal Court
- He's accused of bludgeoning Chuen Kok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran and Nazario Vásquez Villegas to death with a metal pipe on Oct. 5
The man charged with murder in a bloody rampage that left four men dead and another injured in Chinatown was indicted on murder and attempted murder charges Monday, prosecutors announced.
Randy Santos, 24, was indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court for the murder of four men and the attempted murder of a fifth man during a series of attacks in Chinatown in which he allegedly bludgeoned 83-year-old Chuen Kok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran and Nazario Vásquez Villegas to death with a metal pipe as they slept on streets around a Chinatown square a few blocks from City Hall on Oct. 5.
A fifth victim in the rampage survived but was in critical condition.
In total, Santos is facing four counts of murder in the first degree, one count of attempted murder in the first degree, one count of attempted murder in the second degree and one count of assault in the first degree.
“There is perhaps no population more vulnerable to violence than the growing number of unsheltered New Yorkers who lack a safe place to sleep,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance in a statement. “As my Office works to secure justice for Cheun Kok, Anthony Mason, Nazario Abdelardo Vazquez Villegas, and a tragically still-unidentified neighbor, our City can further honor their memories by delivering secure housing to all New Yorkers. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims’ loved ones as our community begins to heal.”
Three of the four dead men were homeless, police said.
The family of Villegas told NBC New York that he was not homeless at all, but rather was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" after missing a bus from Chinatown that was heading to a casino.
The attacks come as New York City's homeless population has grown to record levels, and the homeless remain among the most vulnerable residents. In the past five years, an average of seven have been slain each year.
De Blasio launched new homeless outreach efforts early in his tenure in an attempt to move more people off the street and into shelters, but the program has faced challenges. Right after the attacks, his office announced it was stepping up outreach efforts, particularly in Chinatown and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Advocates for the homeless have argued that that's not enough - and are calling on the city to build more shelters. The city's efforts to do so have dragged due to neighborhood opposition.
Police officials have previously said Santos has a number of past arrests for assault, including one in May for an alleged assault at a Brooklyn homeless shelter. He's also suspected of beating a man sleeping on a bench just north of Chelsea Piers a week before the killing spree. According to prosecutors, Santos tried to throw the victim over the railing into the river during this attack. He is charged in this attack, as well, prosecutors said Monday.
Attorney information for Santos was not immediately clear.