Larry Celona, Joe Marino, and Laura Italiano, New York Post, October 5, 2019
A homeless maniac bludgeoned four other vagrants to death as they slept on the sidewalks of Chinatown early Saturday — bashing in their skulls one by one with a scavenged metal bar during a senseless predawn murder spree.
Rodriguez “Randy” Santos is just 24, but already had what cops call a history of violent, random attacks when he allegedly approached his first victims, two men sprawled asleep side by side on cardboard bedding at Bowery and Doyers Street just before 2 a.m.
“They were sleeping. They never saw it coming,” one shocked police source told The Post.
After smashing the pair in the heads with the 15-pound, 3-foot-long piece of metal, Santos left the two men for dead and stalked for more victims, police said.
Around the corner on East Broadway, he allegedly attacked three more sleeping men, hitting them, too, in their heads.
“He just walked up to them and pummeled them,” said the source.
At least one of the attacks was captured on surveillance video, and additional video from moments after the final attacks shows Santos alertly looking up and down the sidewalk as he headed north with his yard-length weapon, the source said.
In all, police said Santos had struck five homeless men — one of whom was 83 — as they slept on the otherwise desolate sidewalks of Chinatown on the first chilly night of autumn.
Only one — a 49-year-old man who’d been struck on the Bowery — survived.
Santos was being held Saturday night in the Fifth Precinct pending his arraignment; he faces multiple murder and assault charges.
He had been acting “not 100% there” in his holding cell, a source said — including exposing himself.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Santos lived with family in the Bronx as a teenager but in recent years began showing up at homeless shelters — and on police blotters.
He has 14 past arrests, four of them from the past year, the source said.
The most unhinged incident on his rap sheet is a November 2018 attack in which Santos allegedly leaped over a desk at an SRO on West 35th Street in Midtown, grabbing a man by the neck and biting down on his chest, a high-ranking law enforcement source said.
That case has since been sealed, and its disposition is unclear.
His most recent bust was on May 13, for allegedly striking another homeless man in the shelter where police sources say he lived most recently, on Clarkson Avenue in Brownsville.
His weapon was alleged to be a metal pipe. The disposition of that arrest was also unclear.
In March, he allegedly groped a 19-year-old woman in Jamaica, Queens.
In February, he was busted for allegedly shoplifting.
As for the victims, law enforcement sources described them as non-violent and known to frequent the Chinatown area.