More details have emerged about the man who apparently attacked four Asian women and whose body was discovered in an Upper East Side basement on Monday. Investigators now say a hammer, suicide note and a cellphone were found with Tyrelle Shaw's body.
A terrible stench emerged at 766 Madison Avenue, prompting the super to check in the basement. A man who works in the building told the Daily News, "The smell was horrific ... we came in this morning, I hate to say this, but we said it smelled like someone died." It's believed that Shaw, 25, was squatting in the building for months: "People who worked at the building said Shaw had been captured on surveillance camera several times."
Shaw killed himself by hanging, and had written blog posts detailing an obsession with Asian women that descended into violence because he felt they rejected his advances on the street. In one blog entry he explained he was "Bash[ing] Asian Women in the Nose so that they could stop sniffing cocaine and give me a chance." Four women, in separate incidents, were struck in the head by a man wielding a hard object in a bag.
He also wrote, "Actually, I’ve already tied a noose to the bottom of an elevator and I’m going to wait until someone pushes a button so that its not considered a practical suicide."
The Wall Street Journal says that Shaw, who grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, was estranged from his family. The paper also reports that "Mr. Shaw was wearing what a law-enforcement official described as a silver spacesuit" when he was found dead.
Shaw had also reportedly sent a former girlfriend video of himself wearing a noose.
A Chinese woman who knew Tyrelle Shaw has published a piece on Refinery 29 titled, "I'm One Of The 1,500 Asian Women Who "Rejected" The Serial Attacker In NYC." Apparently he struck up a conversation with her at a cafe in 2011, saying, "Excuse me. I just wanted to come over to tell you that you have the most amazing eyes I've ever seen." When she thanked him and said "my very narrow eyes were actually the source of much childhood taunting," he replied, "I can't believe it. You're absolutely beautiful!"
He kept showering me with compliments. We chatted for about five more minutes, with topics ranging from his studies at FIT majoring in textile design to Mr. Talented, his burgeoning bowtie business (he claimed Karl Lagerfeld was a fan). Later that day, I accepted his Facebook friend request without thinking twice. This is how you meet cool new people in the city, right?
She eventually unfriended him on Facebook, after he posted a "rude remark" on one of her statuses, "Now, I feel like I might have dodged a bullet. If Shaw was the man behind the attacks, he got pretty close to me." Then she lamented what women are subject to on a daily basis:
After five years of living in the city, I've grown numb to unsolicited comments from men on the streets, especially ones about my race: I've dodged pornographic slurs about my "ching chong pussy" on the G train. I didn't make eye contact when a slimy guy hollered "I love you, China doll! I wanna fuck you!" outside of Bryant Park last week. My eyebrows barely furrow anymore whenever someone greets me with a "konichiwa"— a Japanese greeting I've heard hundreds and thousands of times, despite being Chinese...
In NYC, the default response to getting approached on the streets is putting on a poker face and walking away. Choosing to not engage is the most non-confrontational way of showing your disinterest, denying a man the possibility of interaction. But sometimes, that detachment is misconstrued as an arrogance, as demonstrated by the painfully truthful catcalling video. Let this be a reminder: Women do not owe anything to street harassers, particularly when all they see is an exotic exterior. Nobody's got time for objectification and self-loathing bigotry.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, "We believe that hammer was used in the bag [in previous attacks], that was the object he was using. It’s a strange case to say the least and now it’s over."