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Street Erupts When Man in a Wheelchair Is Taken Into Custody in Killing

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A Manhattan street erupted in anger on Monday when a man in a wheelchair was taken into custody in the killing of a young woman, whose body had been found wrapped in a blue sleeping bag days before.

At least 50 neighbors and family members of the woman, Yazmeen Williams, 31, swarmed the police officers who placed the man on a stretcher and whisked him out of an apartment building in the Straus Houses, a public housing development on East 28th Street near Second Avenue. Some got close enough to punch him in the face, grab his jeans and rip the back of his blue-and-yellow striped shirt. Officers and emergency service workers held out their arms to keep the crowd at bay.

Some of the loudest screams were from Ms. Williams’s mother, Nicole Williams.

“You killed my daughter! Please kill him!” she cried out.

“She didn’t deserve that,” her mother said. “She was a good daughter. She was my best friend.”

The man, who has not yet been named by the police, was considered a person of interest in the woman’s death on Monday but has not been charged. Neighbors said he and Yazmeen Williams were a couple, but the family said they were not familiar with him.

On Friday, just before 5 p.m., officers responded to a report of a suspicious package outside an apartment building on East 27th Street in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. When the police arrived, they discovered Ms. Williams’s body wrapped in a sleeping bag next to a pile of trash.

The city’s medical examiner found that Ms. Williams had been shot in the head, and her death was ruled a homicide, the police said.

On Monday afternoon, before the police took the man into custody, roughly 10 family members gathered at the apartment Ms. Williams grew up in on Second Avenue, about two blocks from where her body was found.

Her aunt, Nisha Ramirez, said that Ms. Williams had graduated from Buffalo State University with a degree in criminal justice and had just started a job with the New York City Housing Authority.

Ms. Ramirez stood in the hallway of the 10th-floor apartment. She paused as Nicole Williams, who was inside the home, yelled and sobbed.

“This is not just somebody that was thrown in the trash. She was a person. She was college-educated. She had a family,” Ms. Ramirez said. “Whoever killed her might think she was someone who didn’t have a family, that no one’s going to look out for her. This is where she grew up. Everybody knows her.”

When Ms. Ramirez and Nicole Williams received a call that a man linked to Ms. Williams’s killing was being taken into custody around the corner, they ran out the door and down the block to the building on East 28th Street. They joined the neighbors who were already outside, waiting for the police to bring out the man.

Then, through the first-floor windows, they saw him being taken out on a stretcher. They pounded the glass.

After the ambulance took the man away, Nicole Williams spoke about her daughter once more.

“She was an angel. She was a light,” the mother said. “She’s going to live with me forever.”

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