In the wake of five shootings of homeless people in New York and Washington, D.C., homeless New Yorkers and advocates are shaken as police continue to search for a suspect they believe is responsible for all five attacks. Two victims were killed, while the three others are recovering from their injuries, authorities said Monday

“There’s danger everywhere, that’s all I can tell you. My heart goes out for the innocent” said Stephanie Benita Brown.

For the past three months, Brown has been staying at the Bowery Mission in Tribeca, just blocks from where police found a homeless man shot to death in what investigators say was an unprovoked attack.

What You Need To Know

  • Stephanie Benita Brown has been staying at the Bowery Mission in Tribeca, just blocks from where police found a homeless man shot to death.

  • Brown is among those who face those dangers of homelessness daily while trying to use any resource available to stay safe.

  • Bowery Mission CEO James Winans says their staff is working to convince people to come inside for shelter.

“It’s very dangerous here in New York, Washington DC, both places. Both places I have lived before, but it’s a challenge all over the world” said Brown.

Brown is among those who juggle the dangers on the street and in some shelters. She’s relieved to be at the Bowery Mission for now and trying to use any resource available to stay safe.

“I’m a believer, I have to say that, in the Lord” said Brown. “Regardless, I’m going to get my life together.”

Advocates are working to help and protect homeless New Yorkers as Mayor Eric Adams and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called for their respective homeless populations to seek shelter with the suspect at large. 

“It’s absolutely tragic and sobering to know that somebody was killed three blocks from our emergency shelter where we have room," said James Winans, the CEO of Bowery Mission. "We are working with our staff today to make sure that we are having proactive, caring conversations our guests who are here for meals or services during the day. That we’d really like for them to come inside for shelter."

Winans says convincing people to stay overnight can be difficult and that it takes time to build trust to convince people that it’s safer inside where there are supportive resources that can help.

“I think the events of this weekend and the events that are going on right now in our city are showing us how vulnerable it is for someone to experience homelessness” said Winans.

Other advocacy organizations are calling for more permanent housing. The Partnership for the Homeless released a statement saying “these attacks once again highlight the need for our City to invest in measures that prevent homelessness in the first place.” That’s something Brown says is a risk for many people.

“You can have a job this week and lose your job next week… it’s happened” said Brown.

Anyone who can identify this individual or who has knowledge of these incidents should call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).