SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Before his arrest and walk out of the 72nd Precinct station house in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon, officials said Liyong Ye had no arrest or criminal record.
But the 47-year-old Chinese immigrant now faces charges of murder, attempted murder, and criminal possession of a weapon.
On Wednesday, Ye allegedly fatally bludgeoned a 43-year-old mother, Zhao Zhao, who was also his roommate inside their shared, illegally subdivided apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Ye is also accused of attacking Zhao’s two young children with the same hammer.
“I came out and I saw two police officers running, and one had a baby clutched like that — blood all over. And the second officer had the same thing — baby,” said neighbor Kokila Frank.
Ye’s own son witnessed the attack and then saw his father trying to flee the scene, according to police.
“When I saw the babies, I heard the police screaming, ‘Get him, get him, get him!'” Frank said. “He was trying to run away. They arrested him in the middle of the block. It is sad.”
Zhao’s two badly beaten children — a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter — were recovering at a hospital on Thursday.
New York State Assemblyman Lester Chang said there was also a third man living in the three-room, subdivided apartment.
Initial reports stated the fatal attack may have stemmed from ongoing arguments over noise. But Chang, speaking Thursday afternoon, revealed another possible motive: money.
“All three are tenants. That’s confirmed. What I’ve been told — third-party information — is that yesterday they had some argument among themselves — who’s paying the rent. The argument, all financial,” said Chang.
Chang said Zhao’s husband is a restaurant worker in Ohio, who travels back to see his family’s Brooklyn home every month. The father is now said to be at the hospital, mourning his slain wife, while attending to his two badly injured children.