Police have arrested the man who allegedly shot five homeless people in the streets of Washington, D.C., and New York over the last two weeks and killed two of them.
The suspect has been identified as 30-year-old Gerald Brevard III, multiple news outlets reported. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have confirmed the arrest took place sometime around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and said the suspect was transported to the Metropolitan Police’s homicide branch for an interview.
“We are glad this dangerous individual is off the streets,” the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted Tuesday.
Brevard’s identity was first confirmed to the Daily Beast by a senior law enforcement official. The official also told the outlet that the arrest was made in northeast Washington, shortly after ATF and D.C. police received tips about his involvement.
Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation also confirmed Brevard’s identity to the New York Times.
Just two days earlier, D.C. police, the NYPD, and the ATF announced a joint investigation into the series of shootings that began earlier this month. The agencies offered $55,000 to anyone with information leading to an arrest and publicized images from surveillance footage showing a bearded, bald man.
A spokesperson with the D.C. Police told VICE News that the department plans to hold a press conference with more information regarding the arrest later on Tuesday.
As homelessness has risen in the U.S. in the last four years, so has violence committed against them, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The population’s lack of stable housing makes them vulnerable to particularly violent attacks like rape, stabbing, or arson.
Officials in Washington and New York City—and even the nearby New Jersey city of Newark—warned their homeless population about the attacks and advised them to stay inside.
“We urged them with three goals,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “To warn them and seek shelter. To ask them if they’ve encountered this subject from the pictures we showed them. And to ensure that there were no undiscovered victims.”
The first three shootings took place in Washington between March 3 and March 8. Two individuals were shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The remains of at least one homeless individual, however, were discovered after police noticed a burning homeless tent in the early morning hours of March 9. This person’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy revealed they were shot and stabbed multiple times before their body caught fire.
On March 12, two more homeless men, this time in New York City’s Lower Manhattan, were found shot, according to police. While one of these individuals suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and survived, the other was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brevard has a history of violent crime dating back at least four years, according to the Daily Beast. In July 2018, he was charged with assault after he tried to stab someone during an argument, and he was linked to the assault of two women in December 2020.
Brevard’s father also told the Daily Beast that his son suffers from mental illness.
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