Chris Jewers and Josh Boswell, Daily Mail, March 15, 2022
An accused ‘homeless serial killer’ was slapped with murder charges after he was captured at a Washington, DC, gas station following a deadly nine-day crime spree targeting homeless men in New York City and the nation’s capital, which has left two people dead and three others injured.
Gerald Brevard III, 30, was charged with first-degree murder while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill on Tuesday.
His arrest came after the mayors of both New York City and Washington DC released a closeup photograph of the male suspect they believe to be responsible for the cold-blooded killings and shootings, some of which were caught on video.
The suspect’s father, Gerald Brevard Jr, 54, told The Daily Beast that he had spoken to his ‘mild-mannered’ but mentally troubled son just hours before his arrest, and that the younger man ‘did not say anything out of the ordinary.’
‘It was a normal conversation,’ the elder Brevard told the outlet. ‘But he was dealing with mental illness for the longest time. He has been in and out of mental hospitals.’
In a statement conveyed to DailyMail.com through a relative, Brevard said: ‘I would first like to thank you for contacting me regarding my son. To the families of the victims, I extend my deepest condolences and am truly sorry for their losses and the circumstances that have brought me to this statement today.
‘I have just recently become aware of the arrest of my son, Gerald Brevard III and what he is expected to be charged with. I haven’t been provided any details regarding his arrest and I am unable to speak on that particular subject.
‘I can, however, speak on who my son is. He is a good person and like many across the world, he suffers from mental illness. The bigger picture is not that he has mental illness, but the number of times that he’s been within the judicial system and how the system has failed regarding the treatment of so many, including my son.
‘I don’t know what the evidence is, and as I mentioned earlier, I cannot speak to the details of the case. I can only speak to the issue of the failure of the judicial system identifying that my son suffers from mental illness but not treating it.’
The suspect’s aunt, Sheila Brevard, 48, said Brevard III has been ‘in and out of the judicial system,’ spent time in prison, and that the authorities were aware of his mental illness but had ‘not properly treated’ it.
The accused’s aunt insisted that he is a ‘good person’ despite his long rap sheet dating back over a decade including armed robbery and assault.
‘Every time I’ve seen or spoken with him he’s always very pleasant or polite. He is a good person. What he’s accused of, they didn’t give us any details,’ she said.
‘It’s disheartening. No one wants their family member to be involved in these type of things.’
Sheila said her DC-resident nephew was an electrician and a union member, and also worked on the side in restaurants.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Washington DC’s police department confirmed officers had arrested the suspect in the city, with Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Darren Haskis saying Brevard was stopped on the 2700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast at around 3 a.m. and arrested.
Security video from a gas station shows agents with guns drawn confronting Brevard and ordering him to lie face down on the ground. The wanted man complies and is immediately surrounded by law enforcement officers, who put him in handcuffs without an incident.
NBC New York reported that police in New York City and DC received tips that led them to the suspect.
‘He is currently being interviewed at our Homicide Branch. Additional information will be forthcoming. Thanks to the community for all your tips,’ the department said in a Tweet.
NBC New York on Tuesday obtained exclusive security camera video, showing the suspect sneaking up on a 38-year-old homeless man sleeping on the street in the SoHo section of Manhattan on Saturday.
In the footage, the man pulls out a gun and fires, wounding the victim. He then flees on foot.
The 38-year-old victim of the shooting survived and on Monday returned to the scene of the crime to collect his possessions.
Crystal clear images of the male suspect’s face were shared on Monday evening in a joint press conference chaired by NYC Mayor Eric Adams and his DC Counterpart Eric Adams, as well as their respective police chiefs.
Video footage of the suspect strolling down a DC street on March 9 – the evening of the murder in that city – was been shared. At Monday’s press conference in New York, cops revealed they suspected the same weapon had been used in the shootings in both cities, thanks to forensic examination of cell casings found at the scenes.
Police said sixth victim initially thought connected to attacks has been ruled as an unrelated medical incident.
Brevard was apprehended at 2.30am in Southeast Washington DC by agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. No gun was found in his possession.
‘We promised that we’d bring this killer to justice. We kept that promise. Thank you to all of our partners in law enforcement for their good work. Public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity,’ New York City Mayor Eric Adams tweeted on Tuesday. ‘Keeping our streets safe means bringing our country back.’
Court records in Washington DC and Virginia revealed that Brevard has had a string of run-ins with the law since 2016, including misdemeanors and felonies.
In September 2016, he was charged with destruction of property, a misdemeanours, which was later dismissed.
In July 2018, Brevard was arrested on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly trying to stab someone with a knife.
The following year, Brevard was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was briefly committed to a psychiatric hospital.
In December 2020, Brevard was arrested in connection with a string of incidents, including a robbery and a sexual assault, in Virginia.
In one instance, Brevard allegedly accosted a woman on December 3, 2020, implied he had a gun and demanded that she hand over her belongings to him.
Less than three hours later, police said Brevard struck a woman, sexually assaulted her and stole her personal property, reported InsideNova.com at the time.
He was subsequently found guilty of burglary and assault and battery, and was sentenced to supervised probation.
In late January, Brevard was charged with a probation violation and was due back in court on Thursday in connection with that case.
A reward of $70,000 was made available as law enforcement agencies in both cities work flat out to catch the man with $25,000 coming from the NYPD, $25,000 from Washington’s police force and a further $20,000 from the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, speaking in NYC, warned the killer: ‘We’re coming for you.’
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee echoes the mayor’s comments. ‘Our reach is far and wide, and we’re coming for you,’ he said.
The D.C. attacks were on March 3, March 8 and March 9. The third was fatal; the victim was found in a burning tent, having been shot and stabbed to death. During Monday’s press conference, investigators said they believe the victims were given no warning, and that the killer attacked them without speaking.
After the DC shootings, the suspect is then believed to have struck in New York City over the weekend. One homeless man was shot while he slept in Soho during the early hours of Saturday, March 12 while a second was shot and escaped with his life after waking up.
‘Homelessness should not be a homicide. This was a cold blooded attack when you look at the premeditated action of this shooting. It sends a clear, loud message that we need help from the public, from the NYPD, MPCD and ATF,’ Mayor Eric Adams said.
‘Someone knows this person. We’re asking for the public to find him. We don’t want to lose another resident in this city, in New York or anywhere else. This person is carrying out a premeditative act of shooting innocent people.
‘In the shooting in New York he looked around, made sure no-one was there and intentionally took the life of an innocent person. He must be brought to justice. We will bring him to justice. If he’s watching we’re telling him to turn himself in. This is Unacceptable,’ Mayor Adams said.
‘The case also highlights the over proliferation of guns in our cities. It is creating an encounter that’s causing bloodshed across our nation and it is time to top this sick fixation with guns. There are too many guns on our streets. We need to stop the flow of guns to our streets,’ Adams asserted.
‘Washington DC is not manufacturing guns. New York is not a gun manufacturing city but the guns are ending up our streets. It is time to end this.’
Investigators say that ballistic evidence that was found at the scenes of the shootings in both cities links the incidents to a single firearm.
Law enforcement authorities are also asking agencies along the East Coast to see if they have any similar unsolved cases.
Images from of shell casings that were recovered and examined in both cities were then entered into ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and suggested that the same weapon had been used in the killings. It also produced leads based on comparisons of the unique markings on the recovered shell casings.
The link between the two sets of killings and shootings was made by Captain Kevin Kentish, Head of the Homicide Unit in Washington DC.
Kintish, who hails from Queens, New York ‘happened to be scrolling through social media and saw the image of the NYC suspect.’
‘During that review, he took that image to his team, based upon the similarities, came together with ATF and forensically connected these cases,’ Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee said.
The killer’s motive remains unknown.
Chief Contee III had similarly strong words to Mayor Adams about the perpetrator.
‘This is a depraved individual but I feel the knot is tightening in. We dont know this suspect’s mental health. We don’t know if this person is homeless. But there are certain things we know that suggest this person has already murdered more than one time.’