A 56-year-old homeless man was found dead inside of a Kips Bay men's homeless shelter on Friday morning. The victim, whose name has not been released, was discovered around 8:30 a.m. lying in a bed with a laceration to his neck. NYPD officials confirmed that no arrests have been made as of Friday afternoon, and investigators are questioning all 67 men who were on the floor at the time of the incident.
"This incident is exactly why we are working with NYPD to improve shelter security," Steven Banks, the City's newly-appointed Commissioner of Social Services, told reporters during a press conference this afternoon. The NYPD announced plans to retrain all Department of Homeless Services security guards in March, as part of Mayor de Blasio's ongoing efforts to overhaul the city's shelter system.
The Daily News reports that the man was discovered with a thin wire wrapped around his gashed neck, on a "blood-soaked bed."
NYPD officials confirmed on Friday that the victim had neck injuries, and that the room, which had three beds in it, was in disarray—suggesting that there had been a physical altercation. Officers declined to comment on any alleged weapon.
There were five DHS police officers, 18 contracted security guards, and one supervisor on shift at the time of the alleged murder.
The 30th Street Men's Intake Shelter at 400 East 30th Street, also known as Bellevue Shelter, is the intake center for all NYC men who are new to the system, or are returning after a minimum six-month hiatus. It has 230 beds, according to Coalition for the Homeless, and a capacity of 503.
In February, a 26-year-old mother and two of her small children were stabbed to death inside of a Staten Island motel serving as a temporary homeless shelter. The triple murder prompted Mayor de Blasio to offer 24-hour DHS security to all 41 NYC hotels that currently house homeless New Yorkers. "We intend to use hotels [to house the homeless] less and less, and, as quickly as possible, stop using them," he said at the time. "However, we may have to use them going forward when there is a need."
Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio announced a series of reforms intended to streamline homeless services. One of the major proposed changes is the establishment of more intake shelters city-wide.
Additional reporting by Katie Whittaker.