In the summer of 2017, the owner of a New York City house in the hills west of Manhattan called 911 to report that his family had been attacked by a group of unknown assailants, one of whom had been stabbed in the head.
The attack was the second such incident that day in the neighborhood, and authorities said that the attacker was a homeless man who had recently come to the house to retrieve stolen property.
The victim, who has not been identified, was treated at a hospital for a minor stab wound, but no arrests were made, a source familiar with the case told the New York Times.
“This incident is a reminder that while our streets may be safer today than they were in 2014, there are still people who will go to great lengths to harm others,” said David Harris, the city’s commissioner of transportation and public works, in a statement at the time.
“I know the families of the victims who suffered significant injuries and I urge anyone with information about this attack to contact police or the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.”
“It was clear to me that something was wrong.
I knew the guy was the killer, but I had no idea who,” said one of the homeowner’s neighbors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.
“There was something wrong with the house.”
The next day, police made a second 911 call, but it came from the wrong address, a man identified as Eric “Biggie” Loesch told the Times.
The man who answered said that his mother had been sexually assaulted, but there was no indication of foul play, and the caller claimed that he was just trying to report the crime to his local newspaper.
A week later, the police department issued an alert about a “house party” that had been taking place in the area.
A few weeks later, Loescke and another neighbor, a homeless woman named Angela, received another 911 call.
Angela had called in the night of Aug. 11 and told the dispatcher that she and her husband were having a party, but that there were “two guys in the house that are breaking in,” who were attacking people.
“They’re kicking and hitting people,” Angela told the 911 dispatcher.
“The guy on the right is hitting the guy on top of me.
There’s blood everywhere.”
Angela called back the next day and reported that her husband had been beaten to death with a baseball bat.
“My husband is dead,” Angela said.
“You guys are doing something wrong.”
Within days, police began investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
“As soon as we received the 911 call in August, we immediately began looking into it as a potential hate crime,” said Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert L. Miller, who was in charge of the investigation at the point.
“We also began to make additional calls to local media and social media, and received several reports of hate crimes against persons in the vicinity of the residence.”
Two days after the attack, the NYPD released a surveillance video showing the assailants in the home.
“A male and female are seen leaving the residence through the front door, and exiting through the rear door,” the video showed.
“Both of them were wearing hooded sweatshirts and were carrying a baseball-sized bat,” the NYPD said.
Two days later, a third 911 call came in, this time from a man named Alex, who said he had seen a black man running from the home and that he had been chased by two masked men who were holding him down.
“In the video you can see the men are running away and the black man is running away,” the caller said.
“[In] the next second or two the man is seen grabbing the back of the man’s head and punching him in the face.
The second suspect is seen pulling the man into the woods, and a third suspect appears to hold him down and choke him.”
In the video, a police officer can be heard on the radio saying that the man in the video was being held down by a third man and that the second suspect had been shot.
The suspect in the third video was described as being a “white male with short hair,” but there were no reports of race or ethnicity.
“It just wasn’t consistent with the description of the person in the surveillance video,” said Michael Schwartz, the co-founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been following the police investigation for years.
“When we got a second call from a white woman, it was just an assumption of the worst, an assumption that this was some kind of hate crime, and we never really got any kind of information about the suspect or the motive.”
“There is a lot of confusion about this case,” Schwartz told the Los Angeles Times in June.
“Why is this case not being investigated as a hate crime?”
The NYPD has not released a complete report of the attack or any other details