NEW YORK (AP) — A man suspected in a series of bias attacks on Asian women in Manhattan was found dead in an apparent suicide, police said Tuesday, just days after he detailed in an online blog a plot to attack the women and then kill himself.
Tyrelle Shaw, 25, was found hanged in an elevator shaft of a tony Madison Avenue apartment building at around 3 p.m. Monday, police said. Shaw was wanted by police for the four attacks on Asian women two weeks ago.
In each instance, the attacker hit the victim in the face with a hard object that was wrapped in a plastic bag. The victims, ages 29 to 41, suffered minor injuries, and police were investigating the attacks as hate crimes.
Meanwhile, Shaw had detailed online his plan to attack any Asian woman he encountered on the street. In a series of rants posted on his blog "Mr. Talent," Shaw wrote that he had "been rejected by women my entire life." He said he tried to strike up conversations with more than 100 Asian women one weekend and was rejected every time.
"Every Asian woman by herself must be hit in the face," he wrote. "I may even take a photo before hitting them. The reason is because I don't think Asian women like me ... so I think its (sic) brilliant to give all Asian women a legitimate reason to hate me."
Shaw was a fashion student and made bowties with offbeat materials. His blog was previously used to showcase his wares and photos of celebrities who touted them, but it devolved into racist rants.
The attacks started June 10 when Shaw tried to strike up a conversation with a 35-year-old woman, police said. When she ignored him, he walked away, then quickly returned and struck her in the face. Several hours later, he attacked a 29-year-old woman on Park Avenue and was also suspected of striking a 34-year-old woman in the forehead, police said. A fourth attack occurred June 15. All the victims were treated at hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries.
Shaw grew up in Brooklyn, but he was homeless at the time of the attacks, said Robert Boyce, New York Police Department chief of detectives. He had 10 prior arrests, all for nonviolent crimes, Boyce said.
Police received a tip through their Crime Stoppers hotline and identified Shaw as a suspect after they released surveillance video from one of the attacks. When investigators combed through his social media accounts, they realized he "has a rejection issue with females," Boyce said.
Boyce said detectives were trying to find him, but they hit a wall when Shaw turned off his phone.
"He's kind of tough to look for," Boyce said. "This is no dope."
Shaw was found dead before police could arrest him.
In a June 17 post titled "Why I decided to leave earth," Shaw admitted attacking the fourth victim at a dry-cleaning shop in the Chinatown neighborhood.
"I didn't even expect to bash the dry cleaning lady in the mouth," he said. "That was actually my day off from playing the Nose Game. Yeah, that's what I'll call it, 'The Nose Game.' "
In the same post, Shaw wrote about his suicide plot, saying he planned to use a noose at the bottom of an elevator.
Tenants at the building where Shaw's body was found said they became suspicious after smelling a mysterious odor for several days. They contacted the superintendent, who discovered Shaw's body. Shaw had no known ties to the building, and it was unclear how he gained access to the elevator shaft.
Police found a suicide note confessing to the attacks and a bag with a hammer inside— which police suspect was the weapon used in the attacks— under Shaw's body in the elevator shaft, Boyce said.
Associated Press writer Jake Pearson contributed to this report.