Home Social gathering A detective scrolled through social media. What he noticed helped catch a person wanted for shooting homeless people in 2 cities

A detective scrolled through social media. What he noticed helped catch a person wanted for shooting homeless people in 2 cities

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In DC, Kentish and his team were investigating the March 9 murder of a homeless man. The detective reported the photos to his colleagues, and they contacted New York and federal law enforcement and began comparing evidence, including shell casings left at the scene.

“Our partners at the ATF tested our evidence that was recovered, they tested the evidence that was recovered in New York and we had a hit,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said. They were looking for the same person.

ATF officers located and arrested Gerald Brevard, 30, on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

He was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to kill in connection with two non-fatal homeless shootings and first-degree murder while armed in the murder of Morgan Holmes, 54 years, who also had no fixed address, DC police said Tuesday. CNN was unable to immediately identify an attorney for Brevard.

“We have our man,” Contee said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “This case is an example of what happens when there is good police work, science and community support.”

At a separate press conference on Tuesday, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said that although New York authorities have yet to announce any charges against the individual, they believe he is This is the same person as the DC suspect, as they connected the gun through ballistic evidence and his clothing through footage.

“We don’t have enough to make an arrest, we’re working with the Manhattan District Attorney, we’re gathering all of our evidence,” Essig said. “I’m very confident we’ll get there.”

“A shocking act against a defenseless person”

The first known shooting occurred around 4 a.m. on March 3 in DC, police said. Officers responded to the sounds of gunfire and found a man with apparent gunshot wounds, who was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

On March 8, DC authorities responded to reports of another shooting shortly after 1:20 a.m. and found a man with apparent gunshot wounds who was also being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. .

Both victims are recovering, Contee said this week.

On March 9, at around 2:52 a.m., a member of the DC police noticed a fire. The remains of a man – who police later identified as Holmes – were discovered and he was pronounced dead at the scene. A medical examiner determined that the victim died from multiple stab wounds and bullet wounds.

All three victims appeared to be homeless, DC police said.

At around 4:30 a.m. on March 12, New York City officers responded to a 38-year-old man who had been shot in the arm while sleeping, Essig said. About 90 minutes later, another man sleeping on a sidewalk was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene, Essig said.

“You’re kind of surprised and shocked that someone could do such a shocking act against a helpless person,” Essig said.

As soon as they linked the two shootings, New York police held a press conference Saturday night and released images of their person of interest. That’s when DC detective Kentish saw the photos, officials say.

DC police contacted the NYPD on Sunday morning, Essig said, and at 2 p.m. “all five cases — the three in DC and the two in New York City — are confirmed to be a match and ballistics lead.”

Authorities say they are still investigating how the suspect traveled between the two cities, but suspect he may have taken public transportation, Essig said.

A firearm was not recovered as part of the investigation, authorities said. The suspect had “multiple contacts with police in various states,” Essig said.

Brevard has not offered a motive, Contee said, and authorities aren’t sure what ties he may have to the victims.

What defenders say the shootings highlight

As police search for the perpetrator, leaders in DC and New York urged homeless residents to seek refuge.

But advocates say that for some homeless people, shelters can also be unsafe and dangerous environments, and that the recent wave of violence underscores how important it is for elected officials to invest in secure housing and resources for homeless residents.

“We know that homeless people are more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators, but unfortunately much of the discourse lately has vilified homeless New Yorkers and portrayed them as dangerous, rather than to recognize the inherent dangers homeless people face,” Jacquelyn Simone, policy director for the Homeless Coalition, told CNN affiliate WABC.
The group also linked New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ recent initiative to clean up the subways to violence.
Officials say the city’s plan, which Adams unveiled at a joint press conference with New York Governor Kathy Hochul last month, will help tackle crime and tackle homelessness in the metro, but critics said it criminalized people who were homeless and mentally ill.
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“We said at the time that if the city didn’t really invest in the kinds of shelters and permanent housing that people want and need, people would just be moved from the subways to the streets,” he said. Simone told the affiliate.

Adams backed the initiative this week, telling reporters, “We’re not going to allow the people of our city to be in a position where they can’t take care of themselves or where they’re dangerous to people. others.

Asked Monday about the efforts To help unprotected residents find permanent housing, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city is pursuing a pilot program that aims to provide people living in certain camp sites with resources, move them to housing affordable and clean up hazardous living areas.
But advocates have expressed concern that the scheme could again leave many people on the margins if unsheltered residents are not properly housed as authorities clear the sites – and could help further criminalize homelessness .