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Man who stabbed mother, 4 children reportedly was jealous of their lifestyle

Brooklyn Stabbings_Cham.jpg

October 27, 2013: Police officers wait outside a residence in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn where five people, including a toddler, were stabbed to death earlier in New York. (AP Photo)

Authorities believe a Chinese immigrant who fatally stabbed a mother and her four children in their Brooklyn home Saturday night was jealous that the family had been so much more successful in America than him. 

"The family had too much. Their income (and) lifestyle was better than his," a police source told the New York Post Sunday. 

The New York Police Department said the suspect, 25-year-old Ming Don Chen, implicated himself in the stabbings late Saturday in the Sunset Park neighborhood. Chief of Department Phil Banks said the victims "were cut and butchered with a kitchen knife." The Post, citing a police source, reported that Chen showed "no remorse" as he confessed.

"He made a very soft comment that since he came to this country, everybody seems to be doing better than him," Banks said.

Chen is a cousin of the children's father and had been staying at the home for the past week or so, Banks added. The Post reported that his last known address was in Chicago. 

He was unemployed after being fired from a string of restaurant jobs he couldn't hold down for more than a few weeks at a time, according to neighbors and relatives.

Two girls, 9-year-old Linda Zhuo and 7-year-old Amy Zhuo, were pronounced dead at the scene, along with the youngest child, 1-year-old William Zhuo. Their brother, 5-year-old Kevin Zhuo, and 37-year-old mother, Qiao Zhen Li, were taken to hospitals, where they also were pronounced dead.

The children's father was not home late Saturday evening during the stabbings; he was working at a Long Island restaurant, one neighbor said. The mother tried to call him because she was alarmed about Chen's "suspicious" behavior earlier in the evening, according to Banks.

When she couldn't reach her husband, Li called her mother-in-law in China, who also could not immediately reach her son. The mother-in-law then reached out to her daughter in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, Banks said.

The sister-in-law and her husband went to the house at about 11 p.m. and kept banging on the door till someone answered, police said.

It was Chen, "and they see that he's covered with blood," Banks said. "They don't know who this person is."

The couple fled, called 911, and detectives investigating another matter nearby responded quickly, Banks said.

The Post reported that Chen was arrested at the scene, barefoot and covered in blood. Neighbors said he calmly answered officers' questions as he was led into a police car and the bodies were removed from the home.

However, the paper reported that Chen became violent during questioning, throwing a pair of eyeglasses at a sergeant who served as a Chinese language interpreter before kicking the table where he was cuffed and knocking the sergeant to the ground. He later punched a detective, according to the Post. 

Yun Gao, a cousin of the mother, said the man had recently moved to the area and had been staying with different people. Yun said that she had met Chen in the past and described him as a "crazy" man who had failed to hold down a job as a cook. 

"He's lazy," Yun said Sunday. "He doesn't work too hard."

Chen was in custody Sunday, but is still awaiting arraignment. It was unclear whether he had an attorney. He faces five counts of murder.

Click for more from the New York Post

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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