NationNation Now

Brooklyn slayings: Neighbors say victims' relative struggled in U.S.

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeBrooklyn (New York City)China

NEW YORK — An immigrant who neighbors said struggled to survive in America was arrested Sunday on five counts of murder in the stabbing deaths of his cousin's wife and her four children in their Brooklyn home.

The suspect, 25-year-old Mingdong Chen, implicated himself in the killings late Saturday in the Sunset Park neighborhood, police said.

“They were cut and butchered with a kitchen knife,” said Chief of Department Philip Banks III.

Two girls, 9-year-old Linda Zhuo and 7-year-old Amy Zhuo, were pronounced dead at the scene, along with the youngest child, 1-year-old William Zhuo — all attacked in a back bedroom, police said. Their brother, 5-year-old Kevin Zhuo, and 37-year-old mother, Qiao Zhen Li, were taken to hospitals, where they were also pronounced dead.

Chen, who immigrated to the U.S. from China in 2004, is a cousin of the children's father and had been staying at the home for the last week or so, Banks said.

According to neighbors, Banks said, Chen could not hold a job.

“He made a very soft comment that since he came to this country, everybody seems to be doing better than him,” Banks said. “We're not really sure what that means.”

Banks said Chen still speaks only Mandarin Chinese despite having been in the U.S. for almost a decade.

On Saturday night, Chen apparently had been acting in a “suspicious” way that concerned Li, Banks said. She tried to call her husband, who wasn't home, but couldn't reach him.

Banks said Li then called her mother-in-law in China, who also was unsuccessful in reaching her son. The mother-in-law reached out to her daughter in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, Banks said.

She and her husband came to the house and banged on the door. When it opened, they faced a grisly sight: a man they didn't recognize, covered with blood. The couple called 911, and officers investigating another matter nearby responded quickly, Banks said.

“It's a scene you'll never forget,” he said. The victims had wounds in their necks and torsos.

Chen was in custody and not immediately available to comment; it was not clear whether he had a lawyer. Banks said he had at first resisted arrest and, while being processed, assaulted a police officer.

Bob Madden, who lives nearby, was walking his dog Saturday night when he saw a man being escorted from the two-family brick house by police. He was barefoot, wearing jeans, and “he was staring, he was expressionless,” Madden said.

Yuan Gao, a cousin of the mother, came by the house Sunday and stood on the street, along with some of the neighborhood's mostly Chinese residents.

Some said that at Chen's latest temporary home, days before the brutal killings, late-night arguments were loud enough to be heard outside.

Gao said Chen was emotionally unstable. “He's crazy,” she said.

Gao also said Chen kept getting fired from various restaurants after only a few weeks.

Fire department spokesman Jim Long said emergency workers responded just before 11 p.m. to a 911 call from a person stabbed at the residence in Sunset Park, a working-class neighborhood.

Neighbor May Chan told the Daily News it was “heartbreaking” to learn of the deaths of children she often saw running around and playing.

“They run around by my garage playing. They run up and down screaming,” Chan said.

Other neighbors said they had heard loud arguments emanating from the home late on several nights before the murders.

ALSO:

Phoenix family of four killed by neighbor, police say

N.C. fair operator accused of tampering with ride that injured 5

As Danvers mourns teacher, suspect's mother says 'heart is broken'

 

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeBrooklyn (New York City)China
  • White House intruder arrested after entering front doors
    White House intruder arrested after entering front doors

    An intruder scaled a White House fence and made it all the way into the building Friday evening before he was caught and wrestled to the ground by security officers, the Secret Service said. President Obama and his family had already left for Camp David when the incident occurred.

  • Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past
    Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past

    Don Spirit, a Florida grandfather who fatally shot his daughter Sarah Lorraine Spirit and six grandchildren before killing himself, had a long history of domestic violence — at one point pushing his pregnant daughter against a refrigerator and assaulting and threatening his former...

  • Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?
    Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?

    In Texas, where the governor once urged the public to pray for rain, this week’s torrential storms might finally be a sign of lasting relief for the state plagued by years of drought. Or maybe not.

  • For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war
    For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war

    Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity.

  • Egyptian militant admits links to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings

    A longtime Egyptian militant with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden admitted in federal court Friday that he had links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a surprise guilty plea that the judge sharply questioned because it reduces his prison time from a potential life sentence to...

  • Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels
    Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels

    What was supposed to be a no-drama final session of Congress before the campaign season turned into anything but as President Obama's new strategy to combat the threat from Islamic State resulted in a wrenching vote that is likely to reverberate through the midterm election and...

Comments
Loading