On Sunday, Mingdong Chen, 25, was arrested in Brooklyn on five counts of murder. He is accused of using a butcher knife and slaying five people, the wife of his cousin and her four young children.
MingDong Chen, a Chinese immigrant, had a difficult time of trying to make it in America. He came to America in 2004, and had a series of jobs in restaurants, but none of them lasted more than a few weeks. After living in the United states for more than a decade, Chen still only speaks Mandarin Chinese.
The fire department arrived at the scene, according to spokesman Jim Long, just before 11:00 p.m. Saturday night. They had received a 911 call about a stabbing that had taken place in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
The murders occurred in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to the police. Police Chief Philip Banks III said that the victims were killed with a “kitchen knife.”
Three of the children, Amy Zhou, 7, Linda Zhou, 9, and William Zhou, 1, were killed in a bedroom at the back of the two-story house. Their brother, Kevin Zhou, 5, and mother, Quian Zhen Li, who were found in the kitchen, were pronounced dead on arrival at two different hospitals.
Chen had been staying at his cousin’s house for about a week, according to Banks.
Chen implicated himself in the murders, saying he had killed the five relatives because he wasn’t happy with his life, according to a police source. He was charged with five counts of first degree murder, and also five counts of second degree murder.
On Saturday, Li was concerned that Chen was acting “suspicious.” She tried to call her husband, Chen’s cousin, who was away from home, but she was unsuccessful in reaching him.
Then, Li phoned her mother-in-law in China, who phoned her daughter who also lived in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to Banks.
The daughter and her husband knocked on the door of Li’s house. Chen opened the door, splattered with the blood of his five alleged victims. Police quickly responded to the 911 call of the couple.
There were knife wounds in the torsos and necks of the five victims. Chen, according to Banks, resisted getting arrested, and even assaulted a police officer while he was being processed.
Neighbors report hearing loud arguments coming from the Brooklyn house on many nights before the murders.
According to Xiaowe Yang, 31, who spoke with a cousin of Li’s, Li didn’t want Chen in the house, and had told him to leave, but she said that “The guy is very poor. He had no home.”
Previous to the murders, Mingdong Chen had no criminal record in the state. He had lived in various houses and apartments of relatives before moving to the home of his cousin in Brooklyn, where the murders he has been accused of committing took place.
Written by: Douglas Cobb