Authorities have identified the suspect wanted in a string of recent attacks on Asian women in Manhattan as 25-year-old Tyrell Shaw, a career criminal with nearly a dozen prior arrests in New York City who is currently on probation for a burglary in the Bronx, sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York.
Shaw has been arrested 10 times in the city since 2006 for an array of offenses, including credit card theft, criminal trespassing and burglary, records show. The sources say he has been involved in four prior domestic cases; three of them involved arguments with family members and one stemmed from a fight with a girlfriend.
Police have also encountered him several times when responding to reports of an emotionally disturbed person; in April, they responded after he was running into oncoming traffic on 10th Avenue, putting himself and others in dangers, law enforcement sources say.
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Authorities believe Shaw is the man who has attacked at least four Asian women in their 20s and 30s across Manhattan at random in less than two weeks, the sources say.
Police have released photos of the suspect in the case, who they say began attacking Asian women last week in Chinatown. In the first case, on June 10, he asked a 35-year-old woman, "Who is the president of the United States?" police say. When she didn't respond, police say, he walked away, then returned with a white plastic bag containing a hard object and hit her in the face.
About four hours later, a 29-year-old Asian woman was walking down Park Avenue near East 30th Street when the suspect walked past her and waited at the corner, police say. He hit her in the face with the bag when she reached the corner; she was treated at a hospital and released.
Two days later, last Friday, the same suspect attacked a 34-year-old woman walking near Second Avenue and East 60th Street. As in the earlier cases, he walked up to her, armed with the white bag containing the hard object, and bashed her in the forehead. She also was treated at a hospital.
The woman in that case said the man spoke to her, saying, "All Asian girls doesn't talk to me," the victim told NBC 4 New York. She said he complained he could never get their phone numbers; she said she ignored him.
"And then, just after next second, he just hit my face," the woman said.
She said she chased the man after the attack, but stopped when she realized she was covered in blood. The woman needed 10 stitches to close a gash above her eye. She says the wound is so painful that she can't work.
The most recent attack was Monday, when police say the suspect tried to strike up a conversation with a 41-year-old Asian woman on Mulberry Street. She ignored him and he left, but returned, this time with a gray bag containing a hard object, and whacked her in the face with it.
None of the victims were seriously injured in the attacks, which authorities are investigating as bias crimes.
On Wednesday, a tipster called Crime Stoppers to report a possible Wordpress account linked to Shaw that references his frustration with Asian women, the sources say. The writer says he spoke to nearly 1,500 Asian women in less than 350 days, and "none of them took time out of their day to say hello."
The blogger writes that he became furious.
"I never agreed with violence, but I knew the only way I could overcome that sense of rejection-would start by assaulting the Women that carelessly rejected me," the post reads. "I just couldn’t understand why Asian Women didn’t find me attractive. Suddenly, I assumed the ones that I am attracted to use cocaine so I decided to play a game. Bash Asian Women in the Nose so that they could stop sniffing cocaine and give me a chance."
Authorities are investigating whether the account is connected to Shaw, the sources say. Law enforcement sources also say he has been threatening suicide on social media in recent days, though they have found no indication he carried out with the threats.
Anyone with information on Shaw's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.