The New York Police Department has identified the man responsible for killing 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto, a cousin of Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, and seriously injuring 7-year-old Mikayla Capers after stabbing them in the elevator of a Brooklyn housing project.
The New York Daily News reported that detectives found a positive match with DNA found on the steak knife used in Monday’s attack, but they do not know the whereabouts of the man. They’re offering $69,000 to anyone who can point them in the right direction.
P.J.’s father, Nicholas Avitto, believes the man in the police sketch is a homeless man who used to sleep in the hallway of the Boulevard Houses in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn where they live.
Police also have connected the suspect to the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Tanaya Grant Copeland, which occurred Friday just four blocks from the Boulevard Houses.
“We have had a very good number of tips coming in,” NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton said. “I hope that sooner rather than later we’ll get getting back to talk about progress we’re making on this case.”
The NYPD did not reveal the name of the suspect.
Avitto told the Daily News that he has been carrying P.J’s Spider-Man backpack and walking the route to P.J.’s school every morning since his son’s death.
“I’m gonna take him to school tomorrow because spiritually, I believe he’s with me, and that’s my comfort, that’s what we did every morning,” Avitto said. “I will continue until the funeral. As far as I’m concerned, he’s next to me spiritually.”
Gibson has not commented outside of posting a photo of P.J. on Instagram with a caption that read, “They killed my lil super man…only two more weeks until your 7th birthday. Tears forever…this can’t be life.”
UPDATE (9:32 p.m.): The New York Times reported that the NYPD has made an arrest in the case.
Police arrested 27-year-old Daniel St. Hubert shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday in Queens. St. Hubert has a long arrest record and was paroled on May 23.
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