NEW YORK (PIX11/AP) — The police department’s top spokesman says detectives are fielding tips in the search for a man suspected of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old boy and critically wounding a 7-year-old girl in a Brooklyn elevator.
After police released a sketch of the suspect, the father of the slain boy, P.J. Avitto, said it gave him the chills.
“When I saw that picture it dawned on me,” said Nicholas Avitto. “This guy is a homeless guy, people in my building used to serve him meals.”
The NYPD says the man could be behind three heinous, Brooklyn stabbings in three days — all carried out with a sharp kitchen knife.
On Sunday, P. J. Avitto and his 7-year-old friend Mikayla Capers were attacked while riding in the elevator of their Schenck Avenue building. They were on their way to buy ice cream.
Avitto died of his injuries; Capers remains in critical condition.
On Friday, Tanaya Copeland, 18, was stabbed to death while walking to a friend’s house through an industrial area in the same East New York neighborhood. Copeland, who was a talented drummer and college student, was found on Stanley Avenue, stabbed “at least 30 times.”
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis says officials also have increased patrols in the East New York neighborhood following the seemingly random attack on Sunday evening.
Investigators have recovered fingerprints. But police caution that they may not yield helpful information. The elevator is regularly used by building residents.
Davis also says lab workers are analyzing DNA on a steak knife recovered at the scene. Davis says the type of weapon and proximity are the only similarities between the crime and the Friday stabbing death of an 18-year-old woman.
“There is a psychopath on the loose who can strike again at any moment,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who called on the FBI to assist New York City Police in the search for the stabbing suspect.
While the investigation continues, a funeral has been planned for 6-year-old Avitto this Friday.