A serious search is presently on for a man who allegedly stabbed a 6-year-old boy Prince Joshua Avitto in an elevator and 7-year-old girl Mikayla Capers. Avitto’s passed on as a result of the attack and Mikayla is in critical condition. The children were coming downstairs after going up to Avitto’s 6th floor apparent to get themselves icees when the suspect advanced on them in the elevator and stabbed each of them, over 15 times, with a steak knife.
Nicholas Avitto, Prince’s father said he recognized the killer from a sketch made. “I saw that sketch and I recognize that individual,” Avitto told CBS New York. “I’ve seen him in our hallway. I used to give him a dollar, a cigarette, whatever,” Avitto added.
“He took my pride and joy away, I’m devastated. I’m beyond comprehension. I’m trying to understand how God works. My son is gone. That was the light of my life.”
“This is a particularly heinous crime,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton stated. “Two young children in an elevator with no place to escape, nothing at all, and some character gets on and just starts stabbing them? [Residents] have every right to be concerned.”
Residents have been told to be careful; police believe the suspect may also be the one who murdered 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland. He was also stabbed to death 30 times on Friday night, just houses away from where Avitto and Capers’ stabbing took place.
Investigators found a knife similar to the one used in Sunday’s attack at the scene of Copeland’s murder.
The suspect has been described as a Black male between 25 and 35 years old, about 6-feet-tall with a heavy build, and was last seen wearing a grey shirt.
“We want more cameras in our NYCHA developments,” said community activist, Rev. David Keith Brawley.
“If someone put graffiti in Times Square, you’d have hundreds of images of it,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said. “Yet, in an area where crime is high, there are no cameras.”
Housing authority chair and CEO Shola Olatoye testified before the City Council’s housing committee Tuesday afternoon, where the agency faced tough criticism about why adequate CCTV cameras were not installed even after a budget of $500,000 was provided. It was only approved a day after the children were stabbed.
“How much violence has to occur before we address issues?” said Councilman Ritchie Torres.
“Please don’t hurt no more children. Please just come in, come in,” said P.J.’s grandmother, Anita Edgerton.
“He was full of life, vibrant, energy, curious, intelligent. He could’ve been the next Einstein as far as I’m concerned,” said P.J.’s father, Nicholas Avitto.
“Everybody loved P.J.,” said family friend Sophia Diaz. “He didn’t deserve to die like this. Ain’t nobody deserves to die like this.”
Mikayla, now listed in critical condition has been moved to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, police said.
“I don’t know what monster would do something like this,” Mikayla’s great-grandmother Regenia Trevathan cried. “This is senseless.”
The attack has left many children in the neighborhood on edge.
“Before this happened, I used to go places by myself,” one boy said. “But I can’t do that anymore.”