The 24-year-old man accused of brutally killing four sleeping homeless men, and seriously injuring a fifth, was indicted on Tuesday. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that Randy Santos was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree attempted murder, plus second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, noting a second incident where Santos allegedly beat a homeless man sleeping near the Hudson River, before trying to throw him into the water.

"There is perhaps no population more vulnerable to violence than the growing number of unsheltered New Yorkers who lack a safe place to sleep," Vance said in a statement. "As my Office works to secure justice for Cheun Kok, Anthony Manson, 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."

On October 5th, police officers responded to a call about a beating near 2 Bowery and found one injured man, Kok (or Kwok), lying in the street and another who was able to tell them about the attack. Kwok was pronounced dead at the scene.

Based on details from witnesses, police found Santos holding a metal bar near Mulberry and Canal Street and took him into custody. Hours later, while police were canvassing the neighborhood, they discovered three more bodies with trauma: Manson was outside of 17 East Broadway, while Vazquez Villegas and the still-unidentified man were in front of 2 East Broadway.

Candles and flowers are placed on a ledge in Kimlau Square, Chinatown

Santos was later connected to a September 27th attack where a homeless man was beaten in Hudson River Park near West 29th Street. Passer-by Argenys Vargas told the Daily News he interrupted the assault, "I just saw this dude out of the corner of my eye getting beat up... I just couldn’t imagine it. He (the attacker) wasn’t strong enough to pick him up and throw him over, so his head was banging on the rails. The rails had his blood all over. It was really upsetting."

Vargas said that the attacker fled when he approached him, "I just said ‘You gotta stop, man,’ and he just started chucking after that. He didn’t respond to me. He was almost as big as me, so I think he was more worried about fighting me."

Santos, who is being represented by Legal Aid, pleaded not guilty to charges. He is also homeless and his family and friends said his behavior was erratic and that he grew violent in recent years. According to WABC 7, "His lawyer told the judge that they will likely pursue a mental health-related defense."

The deaths of the homeless men sparked an outcry for more housing and services for the unsheltered from both the city and state. Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said after the deaths, "This is a symptom of a broken system that ignores the voices of our most vulnerable community members. We need a systemic change and we need it now."