NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search is on for a pack of thieves who police say tied up an elderly couple and ransacked their apartment in a violent home invasion robbery that left a 91-year-old man dead and his 100-year-old wife in the hospital.
Police said Waldiman Thompson and his wife, Ethlin, were targeted by a group of thieves who followed them into their ground floor apartment on Decatur Street around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The couple owns the building and collects rent from tenants. Sources tell CBS2 the thieves were likely searching for a large sum of cash.
Once the suspects left, Ethlin wiggled free from her restraints and called police.
“The officers entered the apartment and found her 91-year-old husband tied up and lying on the floor and he was unresponsive,” NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Kemper said.
“When I came out I saw them bringing him out on a stretcher and they were pumping his chest,” neighbor Lawrence Reynolds said.
Video from the scene showed Mrs. Thompson inside an ambulance, being treated at the scene for minor injuries. Police at the time said she didn’t know her husband was dead.
The couple’s family returned to the crime scene Wednesday night, devastated and still in shock.
“Oh my god, Waldiman Thompson he doesn’t deserve to die like this and this brutality that they did to him, it’s terrible,” said the victim’s niece, Karlene Grose, who last saw her uncle at a family gathering over the weekend. “Whoever did something like this, they deserve to be punished real hard.”
Neighbors said the couple had lived in their brownstone for decades.
“They’re so old and when you see them they look timid,” said neighbor Denise Allen.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. He is also reaching out to the community to help pay for the victim’s funeral.
“There are no words to properly capture the outrage our community is experiencing over the death of Waldiman Thompson,” Adams said. “This godly and big-hearted couple suffered a truly godless and heartless attack that has struck a blow deep in the soul of Brooklyn. Their tragedy is a tragedy for us all.”
Waldiman Thompson’s cause of death remains under investigation. It is unclear whether he was physically beaten or died from heart problems.