WASHINGTON (WJLA) — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents took down Gerald Brevard III early Tuesday morning at a southeast DC gas station.
"I’m relieved to tell you that we have arrested the suspect in these shootings," said ATF's Charlie Patterson.
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Federal agents, along with Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Police, said the 30-year-old man believed to have shot three homeless victims, one fatally, in D.C. and two more in New York City, one fatally, was off the street.
“Today I’m am here to announce we have got our man," said MPD Chief Robert J Contee III.
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An hour earlier, the NYPD held a news conference saying the ballistics connected him, but they’re not ready to charge yet.
“As of now, we haven’t. We’re still working through that. He has no connections to New York as far as we can see he’s mostly a D.C. guy," James Essig, chief of NYPD detectives.
Police learned Bevard was living with an 83-year-old great aunt near the scene of his arrest. Her children stood outside the apartment as police searched and questioned her.
“My mom is 80 plus years and she got to deal with this. She comes out and we can’t go in. All we can do is talk to her through a balcony, said Brevard's cousin Daerell,
They say he has a long mental history.
“There’s track of mental issues that there,' said Daerell. "It's been there he’s done a stent at St Elizabeths, which according to dad that shouldn’t probably let go.”
According to Action News in Philadelphia, the NYPD asked police chiefs in major cities along the East Coast to review open cases involving shootings and murders of homeless people -- especially when a .22 caliber weapon was used.
There were several shooting incidents involving homeless people in Kensington, Pa. over the past two years. Those cases could be linked.
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Agents say they located him through information gathered from leads. On Monday, they offered a $70,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
“I am relieved but I’m also challenged by the question that was just asked: If we can do this in this case, we do it in every case," said Bowser.
Brevard’s criminal record dates back to 2013 according to court records obtained by 7News. Dozens of charging documents show the 30-year-old arrested or cited for drug possession, traffic violations, theft, assault, and burglary.
Court records show Gerald Brevard III was evaluated and released from a Washington D.C. psychiatric hospital in 2019.
In 2019, he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in D.C. court.
District court records show Brevard III was evaluated and held at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital in June of that year.
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A psychiatric evaluation contained in the court record “diagnosed Mr. Brevard with bipolar disorder” and found him “competent” to stand trial.
“When you have a history of these things continuing cycles it need to be addressed, not pushed to the side," Daerell added.
Court records show by July 2019 all charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Brevard was arrested on Dec. 17, 2020 on an “abduction with intent to defile” charge in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County says he was charged with burglary and abduction. Fairfax County prosecutors say Brevard was sentenced on an amended assault and battery charge to 24 months, 11 in lock-up, followed by active probation.
The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office confirms Brevard III served time but says it is legally prohibited from disclosing how much and when he was released.
Below is a statement from officials on the arrest:
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser:
“We want to thank everyone in Washington, DC, New York City, and elsewhere who sent in tips about this suspect. I also want to thank Mayor Adams and his team in New York, our team at MPD, as well as our federal partners at the ATF for their collaboration and partnership. We said that the work to remove this man from our streets was urgent and our communities responded. We know that this experience has been especially scary for our residents experiencing homelessness. Our work continues to end homelessness and ensure all residents have access to safe and affordable housing. Our work also continues to get guns off our streets, to address the proliferation of firearms, and to prevent violence while also working swiftly to hold people accountable when they terrorize and bring harm to our communities.”
NYC Mayor Eric Adams:
“Yesterday, I stood with Commissioner Sewell, Mayor Bowser, Chief Contee, and the ATF to show the coordinated effort between multiple cities and the federal government to bring a cold-blooded killer to justice, and, today, we’re proud to announce that that suspect is in custody. “This man targeted those experiencing homelessness with no regard for life, but this criminal is now off the streets. Gun violence against anyone, let alone our most vulnerable populations, is sick, but thanks to the coordination between different levels of law enforcement and the public’s help, those experiencing homelessness can breathe a sigh of relief today. The recent rise in gun violence remains a concern for us all, and we will do everything in our power to keep our citizens safe because public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity.”
DC Police Chief Contee:
“I want to personally thank our community members who submitted tips and information in this case, and thank our law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts in bringing this individual to justice. It is essential for us to work together as a community to close cases, and show the world that there is no place for those who commit violence in our communities.”
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During a Monday press conference, the Metropolitan Police Department released a new video and photos of the suspect ahead of a joint press conference with Bowser and Adams.
"We know that this is a scary situation," she added. "We know that our unsheltered residents already face a lot of daily dangers and it is unconscionable that anybody would target this vulnerable population."
Bowser also spoke on Bloomberg News where she said investigators learned about the connected cases after the guns from the scenes matched ballistically.
"Homelessness should not be a homicide. This was a cold-blooded attack," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
MPD says three shootings happened between March 3 and March 9 in northeast D.C.
The first two victims were found with gunshot wounds and were treated at local hospitals.
The third person was found dead on March 9 after a fire was reported. A DC officer put out a tent fire on the street and discovered a man's remains inside.
Police found the person on fire and said the "remains were very cremated" and "hard to identify."
During the autopsy, it was determined that the person had been shot and stabbed.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 12, two homeless men who were sleeping on the street in NYC were shot without provocation by a man, police say. One was killed.