MANHATTAN, New York — At 4:38 pm on Sunday, a high school teacher in lower Manhattan was greeted by a shocking discovery on his Facebook timeline: A video posted by a former student that depicts the methodical killings of seven victims by lethal injection.
Clear evidence in the video footage quickly led to police discovery of six bodies heinously arranged at the dining table of one of the victims' residence in Tudor City—their clothing bizarrely swapped and the table set with eight paper plates that displayed raw steaks garnished with potting soil.
The seventh victim has yet to be accounted for, though it is currently known that all seven persons identified in the video are friends and family of the suspect who is now in FBI custody.
18-year-old Omar Ziskind was captured on Tuesday night after a state-wide manhunt for the murders that appalled the nation and those who knew him. An aspiring anesthetist and undergraduate at BYU, Ziskind has been described as quiet but outgoing and “completely normal" by classmates on social media who are still reeling from the video that has since been removed by Facebook.
Statements released by investigators paint a starkly different picture, one that suggests a troubling battle with mental illness that has plagued Ziskind recurrently in recent months. One statement has quoted Ziskind saying that he believes the deaths in his hands were “necessary to get the attention of the society” and that he “tried to do it in the most humane way [he] deemed sufficient.”
When questioned if he thought that his victims went peacefully, his response was unnervingly cavalier.
“I doubt it, not that it really matters. As I already mentioned in my video— I filmed the whole thing so I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself— I used a three-drug formula similar to what our government uses in legal executions. That is, before they started switching to all the other botched experimentations for capital punishment. My concoction stuck with the pancuronium bromide, the paralytic agent. It gives the appearance of peace— Imagine your lungs collapsing while your heart struggles to keep beating as it goes into cardiac arrest. I don't think that's peaceful at all. In my opinion it's more cruel and unusual a punishment than death by hanging or firing squad— But appearances are what matters. And for what it's worth, they were, clinically speaking, sedated.”
Two NYPD patrolmen in the search area of the murders are still reportedly missing. Any connection to the case remains unclear.