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Man With Throat Slashed at Homeless Shelter May Have Been Murdered: Police

By Noah Hurowitz | April 15, 2016 12:18pm | Updated on April 18, 2016 8:54am
 A man was found dead with a laceration to his neck at the 30th Street Men's Shelter on Friday morning.
A man was found dead with a laceration to his neck at the 30th Street Men's Shelter on Friday morning.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

KIPS BAY — The death of a man found with a slash wound on his neck inside a men's shelter on Friday morning is being treated as a homicide, according to police officials.

Officers responded to a 911 call at the 30th Street Men's Shelter at 400 E. 30th St. shortly before 8:30 a.m. Friday and found the 56-year-old man unconscious and unresponsive, police said.

Officers found the victim laying face-up on his bed and the room was in disarray and covered in blood, said Assistant Chief William Aubry, head of Manhattan South detective squad, on Friday afternoon.

"If you look at the body, look at the room, there was a struggle," he said. "There was quite a bit of blood."

EMS responders pronounced the man dead at the scene, and a cause of death is pending examination by the medical examiner, according to a police report.

The man was staying in a three-bed room on the third floor of the shelter, Aubrey said. Police gave no details about how many roommates the victim shared the room with, but said detectives are continuing to interview multiple possible witnesses.

There were 67 people staying on the third floor when the incident occurred, according to Human Resources Commissioner Steven Banks.

Police have not yet contacted the man's family, Aubrey said, and are currently withholding his name.

Nicole Cueto, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeless Services, said the agency was awaiting the results of the police investigation before commenting further.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim,” Cueto said. “The City is committed to improving shelter safety, which is why we have the NYPD doing a complete review and training DHS peace officers who provide security."

The NYPD is working with the Human Resources Administration to review safety at the city's shelters, according to Banks. The security staff on duty when the incident occurred included a supervisor, five DHS peace officers, and 18 contracted security guards, Banks said.

Three residents who spoke with DNAinfo said they feel unsafe staying at the shelter, which at 850 beds is one of the city's largest, but have no where else to go.

"Security ain't where they should be," said one resident, who declined to give his name. "They're at their post on their phones or standing by the stairs talking to each other."

DHS recently added six new peace officers to the shelter's roster, but residents said the facility remains as dangerous as ever.

"I need to get out of here man," said the resident, who told DNAinfo he had been at the shelter for about two months.

Another resident, Israel Soto, who said he has been at the shelter for eight months, said that younger residents often target older men for robbery and violence.

"Young punks pick on old guys like me, and they can because there are no cameras," he said. "Security don't do anything."

Cueto did not immediately respond to a request for comment about security at the shelter.

Several recent violent incidents have raised concerns about safety at city shelters and shore up the complaints the residents shared with DNAinfo:

► On Jan. 27, 21-year-old Anthony White fatally slashed the throat his roommate Devon Black, 62 in an East Harlem shelter. Police found the body of a man they suspect may be White floating in the Hudson River in March, according to the Daily News.

► On Jan. 30, Mark Bradford, 48, slashed his roommate after an argument at the Samaritan Village Men's Shelter in Midtown. Bradford had recently been paroled after spending nearly 30 years in prison for his involvement in a 1984 murder and robbery.

► On Feb. 10, Michael Sykes, 25, fatally stabbed his girlfriend and two of their daughters in a Staten Island motel that was being used to shelter homeless families. Police arrested Sykes in Brooklyn three days later.