A man who allegedly bludgeoned a mother to death in a brutal hammer attack in New York City that also critically injured her two children was charged with murder on Thursday.
Liyong Ye, 47, kept his head down as he was led away in handcuffs. He also faces charges of attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in connection to the senseless slaying on Wednesday.
Mr Ye, who had blood on him when he was arrested, allegedly attacked the 43-year-old mother, Zhao Zhao, and her five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter in the apartment they all shared on 52nd Street near Fifth Avenue in the Sunset Park neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
The three victims were taken to NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn, where the mother died from her injuries.
The two children were listed in critical condition, but a doctor who examined them was quoted in the criminal complaint stating that they are “likely to die.” They have since been transferred to Bellevue Hospital’s pediatric unit.
Mr Ye was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court where prosecutors described how the attack unfolded.
Mr Ye and his nine-year-old son were living in another room of the small three-bedroom apartment that he subletted from Ms Zhou.
He reportedly had complained multiple times about the mess in the kitchen and bathroom to the third roommate weeks before the attack, according to authorities. Neighbours also reported hearing Mr Ye and Ms Zhou loudly arguing.
According to the criminal complaint, Mr Ye was discovered standing over Ms Zhao and her children with a bloody hammer in his hand. The hammer was recovered by the NYPD.
“There was blood on the defendant’s person, and that blood was splattered on the walls and floor,” the complaint reads.
“The incident I’m about to describe to you is a horrific and senseless act of violence which took the life of a married mother of two,” New York city police department chief of patrol John Chell told reporters prior to the arrest.
“I think I can speak for all New Yorkers when I say our community, all our prayers are with this family at this time.”
“The 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter are fighting for their lives,” he said.
“On behalf of New York City, everyone here, our hearts go out to this family.”