Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is calling for the deployment of federal law enforcement officers to East New York after a teenager and a young child were stabbed to death in two separate attacks—just as police release a sketch of the man they say could be responsible. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Police believe a man shown in a police sketch stabbed a six-year-old boy to death and put his seven-year-old friend in the hospital.
The father of Prince Joshua Avitto, also known as PJ, told a crowd of hundreds he walked to his child's school Monday pretending he was with him and still alive. His family is furious.
"Took my heart away. That was my backbone. I want this guy caught. I'm really hurt," father Nicholas Avitto said.
"I'm so angry. All I can say is why would somebody do this to somebody's kids? Why? He haven't even begun to live his life," said another mourner.
Detectives say someone stabbed PJ and his seven-year-old friend, Mikayla Capers, in the elevator of their Boulevard Houses apartment building. She has critical injuries.
Police say their attacker used this knife.
The two children were playing and had gone inside Sunday to get a snack.
The mother of Tanaya Copeland, Rochelle Copeland, pleaded with the public Monday. Her 18-year-old was stabbed to death Friday a few blocks away.
"If you all know anything you all have got to open your mouths," Copeland said..
Police say the cases may be related because of the types of weapons used and their close proximity.
Her mother believes the same person is responsible.
"This individual that took my daughter's life stabbed an 18-year-old child over 30 times, a seven year-old 15 times and a little boy.
Tanaya's young marching band friends performed Monday night as a tribute to all the victims.
Earlier, neighbors released balloons in their honor—a community unified in one desire: getting the killer off the street. Many want retribution.
"I want them to catch him before the cops get him because he don't deserve to live," one mourner said.
Police describe the suspect as a black male, 25 to 35 years old, six feet tall, heavy set, wearing a grey shirt.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.