A homeless man was found brutally murdered in a Chinatown alleyway early Sunday morning.
The man, who has yet to be identified by the medical examiner, was found slain near the yard entrance of the historic Cameron House community center in the alleyway of Joice and Clay Streets at 8:33 a.m, according to police and eyewitnesses.
City workers powerwashed blood off of the three-foot tall brick wall of the community center, which is the base for security fencing around an outdoor basketball court and recreational space and just feet away from the yard entrance.
“They were up here powerwashing that wall for a long time, at least an hour,” said Emily Bush, an apartment cleaner for the building that overlooks the alleyway. “I didn’t go up there but I could tell by them power washing it was just blood, blood, blood, blood, blood.”
Bush did not see the dead man’s body but saw bloody water going down the alleyway. She said she was unaware what had happened until she was approached by detectives.
“When I came into work they wanted to talk to me because there was blood outside of my stockroom door on the sidewalk,” Bush said. “So they needed to come down and see if there was anybody down there or anything like that.”
Detectives, including Sgt. Michael Alexander, were on the scene again Monday afternoon and said the homicide is still under investigation.
A neighbor, who asked not to be named, said police came to his door Sunday morning. When he stepped out on his balcony to see why police had spoken to him, he saw blood splattered on the brick wall and torn, blood-soaked cardboard on the sidewalk.
The neighbor also confirmed that the man who was killed had been living in the alleyway for the last couple of weeks and noted that items still visible in the alleyway the next day, including a cot mattress, an open can of sardines and small bottles, all belonged to the victim. He said the man often yelled at night and neighbors thought he might have been afflicted with a mental health disorder.
The murder occurred within a block of the Cameron House community center, Gordon J. Lau elementary school, Chinatown Community Children’s Center and a children’s park, leaving some residents concerned about safety.
“I was shocked as well as surprised, because when you think about this place it’s supposed to be a safe place where someone can come and ask for help,” said Raymond Tan, an employee at the Cameron House. “To find out that someone was murdered and even brutally murdered outside, that’s just is sad.”
Sunday’s killing marks the eleventh murder in The City this year.