An employee at an unlicensed day care facility in Queens accused of stabbing three infants and two adults before cutting her own wrist has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, New York police said Saturday.
The victims — two girls and a boy plus two adults — were in critical but stable condition at local hospitals, police said.
The babies range in age from 13 days to 1 month, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
The suspect, Yu Fen Wang, 52, is in custody at a hospital, where she is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and being treated for her injuries, officials said. She will likely be arraigned next week.
She was unconscious when police responded early Friday morning. She regained consciousness after officers applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from her wrist, police said.
The residential facility was used mostly by Chinese women who give birth and stay there before returning to China, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Neighbors said it was frequented mostly by Chinese parents, but Koreans and African families were also seen there.
Nine babies, along with some of their parents, had been at the residence during the attack, New York police Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes said. Of the children present, five were girls and four were boys, she said.
There were 11 cribs in the three-story building, according to the district attorney’s office.
The 31-year-old father of one injured child and a 63-year-old woman who works at the facility were also attacked, officials said. The man was stabbed in the leg, and the woman was stabbed in the torso, Holmes said.
Two knives were recovered, police said.
The motive in the 3:45 a.m. Friday attack was unclear, police spokesman Lt. Thomas Antonetti said.
The red brick, multifamily house on a tree-lined street in the Flushing section of Queens appeared to be used as a baby day care facility, though state officials said it was not licensed.
“We have seen some paperwork indicating that it is a day care,” Holmes said, adding the documents “indicated that they were a nursery.”
Part of building served as “living quarters,” she said.
But the site is not listed as the location of a licensed or regulated child care program with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, agency spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey said in a statement.
“OCFS is saddened by this horrific situation and investigating it as a possible illegal operation,” she said.
State-regulated child care programs are prohibited from caring for infants younger than 6 weeks old unless they receive approval from the agency, the statement said.
“Any request must include physician medical approval and detail the extenuating circumstances necessitating such a request,” it said.
The city’s Buildings Department had received several complaints about the property, including the possibility it was being illegally used as a hotel, records show. But department inspectors were unable to gain access to the home on several occasions.
The city had received a complaint in 2011 about “screaming children” at the residence, Holmes said, noting that the call came to a city hotline.