The NYPD has charged a suspect in the killing a 37-year-old woman and her four young children, ages one through nine, in a stabbing rampage in a Sunset Park apartment. Two children, including the one-year-old, were reportedly decapitated when Mingdong Chen, 25, allegedly attacked them with a meat cleaver.
Chen, the cousin of the victim Qiao Zhen Li's husband, Yi Lin Zhuo, was described by numerous people as being "jealous" or "envious" of others' success. Chen immigrated from China nine years ago, and had recently been staying with the family of six. One source told the Daily News, "He felt they had everything and that he had nothing. They were doing well and he was struggling just to get by."
Li, 37, had apparently been worried about Chen's behavior and tried to get in touch with her husband. However, she was unsuccessful and ended up calling her mother-in-law in China, who also was unable to get in touch with Zhuo. Zhuo's mother called a daughter-in-law, who went to the apartment to check on them. NYPD Chief of the Department Philip Banks said, "They bang on the door. At some point, he opens the door and they see that he is covered with blood."
Inside, one-year-old William Zhuo, seven-year-old Amy Zhuo, nine-year-old Linda Zhuo, were pronounced dead at the scene. Li was found unconscious with five-year-old Kevin Zhuo, and both were pronounced dead at hospitals.
Banks explained, "They were cut and butchered with a kitchen knife. We have the knife, the perpetrator made statements eluding that he utilized this knife to commit this act." He added that it was a "horrific, horrific crime... We believe he acted alone... Bad situation there, but hopefully just the fact that the perpetrator’s in custody may bring some type of relief to the family members if possible."
Detectives who had been in the area investigating a robbery were able to respond to the scene quickly. The Post reports, "The detectives, William Greer and Giovanni Talavera, nabbed Chen as he tried to escape out the front door at about 10:45 p.m., still carrying the bloody knife, a source said. 'If those detectives hadn’t been in the area, he could have gotten away with it,' the source said."
Chen, an illegal immigrant whose last known address was in Chicago, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, four counts of second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault, five counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. He apparently lashed out at cops during questioning—the Post's source "said that while one of his hands was cuffed to a table, Chen kicked the table into a sergeant serving as an interpreter, knocking him to the floor." He had apparently been recently unemployed, so he was staying with Zhuo, Li and their family.
A neighbor told the NY Times, "It’s so sad. The only thing I can do is pray for them, pray for the family. It’s crazy. You don’t kill kids. Don’t take it out on the kids."