NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Six people, including three infants, were slashed and stabbed early Friday morning at an unlicensed child care facility in Flushing, Queens.
Police were called to a home on 161st Street around 3:45 a.m. when neighbors reported yelling.
Watch: NYPD Presser On Queens Day Care Slashing
“He told me he heard screaming. He lives right next door over there, which is across from the area where the crime took place,” resident Alan He told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
Authorities said a 52-year-old female worker slashed three little girls, a 63-year-old female coworker in the leg and arm and a 31-year-old father in the leg and wrist.
According to the Queens district attorney’s office, the child victims included a 13-day-old newborn, a 22-day-old infant and a 33-day-old baby.
“We are hoping these young babies – small and so very fragile – are also strong enough to overcome this horrible act of senseless violence,” said Ikimulisa Livingston of the DA’s office.
The victims were rushed to area hospitals in critical but stable condition. Police said one of the infants was more seriously injured than the others.
Six other children, four girls and two boys, inside the home were not hurt. The DA’s office said there were nine babies present during the assault and at least 11 cribs in the three-story building.
Police said they found the suspect unconscious in the basement with self-inflected wounds to her wrists. She was taken into custody and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at New York-Presbyterian/Queens hospital.
“She was one of the workers in the place, and I think she was mentally ill. It was early in the morning and she kind of lost it. That’s all we know,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim.
Police also found two knives in the home — a butcher’s knife and meat cleaver.
Investigators are using Chinese translators to interview the people who live there.
“Part of the building is living quarters, they’re apartments, multiple families,” NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes said.
Police said they found paperwork that suggested the house was being used as a day care, but authorities said the facility was not licensed, reports CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
Officials said it may have been an after-birth care facility following a Chinese custom of letting a woman who just had a baby to rest for a month. Women without a family home nearby or financial means can turn to use a home such as this one where there are people to help take care of a child.
Police said they were called to the home once before in 2011 for reports of children screaming.