CRIME

Chinese mother and four children stabbed to death in New York home

Father arrived home as his family was being butchered to death but unable to stop them from dying; a mentally-ill relative is held by police

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 4:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 6:53am
AP

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A Chinese mother and her four young children, including a toddler, were killed in a late-night stabbing rampage at their home in New York City, and a 25-year-old man has been taken into custody, police said yesterday.

Authorities identified the victims as Qiao Zhen Li, 37; Linda Zhuo, 9; Amy Zhuo, 7; Kevin Zhuo, 5; and William Zhuo, 1.

Police arrived at the scene on Saturday night and found all five victims unconscious and unresponsive, a spokesman said. The toddler and two girls were pronounced dead at the residence by ambulance crews. They rushed the seriously injured woman and the boy to hospitals, but doctors were unable to save them.

Fire department spokesman Jim Long said emergency workers responded just before 11pm to an emergency call from a person at the home in the Sunset Park neighbourhood.

Media reports said the dead woman's sister, who was in the apartment at the time of the killings, survived unscathed and made the call.

The New York Post said the father of the children arrived as his family was being butchered to death, but was unable to stop them from dying, according to a policeman who spoke to the New York Post.

"The father walked in and grabbed [the stabber] and tried to stop him but it was too late," it quoted an officer as saying.

A suspect, believed to be related of the family and mentally ill, was seen being led away by police barefoot and covered in blood. The New Yotk Post said a machete and scissors were taken from the flat in the semi-detached building as evidence.

The suspect, who neighbours said lived at the home, did not flinch as police officers led him off in handcuffs, witnesses said.

"He was completely composed and answering their questions even as they brought out two black bags with the kids in them," a neighbour said.

"He was still calmly answering their questions as the stretcher with the bloody child was rolled right past the car. He seemed unfazed."

Neighbour May Chan said it was "heartbreaking" to learn of the deaths.

"I always see [the children] running around here," Chan said. "They run around by my garage playing. They run up and down screaming."

Other neighbours said they thought they were watching a horror movie.

"I saw the mom and the kid, just covered in blood," said Kenny Lin, 33, who lives down the street from where the mass killing took place. "They were both on stretchers."

Rencong Lee, 26, said she saw a distraught 40-year-old woman - possibly another relative - being comforted by a friend.

"She said 'My family was cut ... there's so much blood,'" Lee said. "She was crying, I think she was panicking."