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Woman killed and her 2 children 'fighting for their lives' in NYC hammer attack

Authorities said it wasn't clear what prompted the attack in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood.
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A suspect is in custody after allegedly attacking a family in their New York City home with a hammer, fatally striking the woman and seriously injuring her two young children, authorities said Wednesday.

John Chell, chief of patrol for the New York Police Department, said it wasn’t clear what prompted the “brutal” attack in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

The department identified the suspect as Liyong Le, 47. He was booked Wednesday night on charges of murder, attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, the department said in a statement.

The hammer attack occurred at this location in Brooklyn, NY.
The hammer attack occurred at this location in Brooklyn, N.Y.Google Maps

The department identified the woman as Zhao Zhao, 43. Her children are 5 and 3, Chell said.

The attack occurred shortly before 2 p.m. in an apartment where the suspect and the victims lived, authorities said. The home had three rooms that were occupied by three separate families, Chell said.

The suspect lived with his 9-year-old son in one room, and the victims lived in another room, Chell said. The third room was occupied by a single person, he said.

Chell described the apartment as "tight quarters" and added, "Don't know what the dispute was about, but we'll figure it out."

Authorities arrested the suspect as he tried to leave the building, Chell said. It isn’t clear what charges he may face.

In the apartment, officers found the woman and her children, he said. They were taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, he said.

"The 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter are fighting for their lives," he said. "On behalf of New York City, everyone here, our hearts go out to this family."