Suspect in homeless shootings in NYC, Washington DC held without bail

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The man accused of shooting homeless people in Washington, D.C., and suspected in similar incidents in New York City appeared before a judge Wednesday.

Gerald Bravard, 30, was ordered held without bail after the judge sided with prosecutors arguing for him to be held pending trial.

The defense cited Brevard’s work experience and long ties to D.C. in an attempt to get him released.

The defense also attempted to cast doubt on whether they had the right suspect, noting disparities in eyewitness accounts of the crime scene in New York.

Ultimately, the judge found probable cause to detain Brevard, noting the severity of the crimes, the matching bullet casings at both crime scenes, and Brevard’s own history with the law and recent probation orders.

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Prosecutors in Manhattan are still building their case.

Brevard is accused of shooting three people in DC, killing one of them, before traveling to New York last weekend and shooting two men, one fatally.

Police say he shot and killed a homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk in SoHo on a bitterly cold Saturday morning.

“I think anybody who does that, you’ve seen the video, just going up and indiscriminately shooting somebody sleeping defenselessly, on the sidewalk, and bothering nobody, they got some serious issues,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. “I don’t know what they are. Hopefully, when we bring him into custody, we’ll find out.”

Police say he was spotted at Penn Station at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, raising the possibility he traveled to New York City on Amtrak with a loaded gun.

“I was glad that it was over,” said Rosaline Law, the suspect’s cousin. “I’m glad that, whoever it was, being it my family member or whoever, that was over.”

Law told a reporter in DC that her cousin has a history of mental illness and has been in and out of jail, halfway houses, and even a mental hospital.

Meantime, Brevard’s father spoke to Eyewitness News Reporter CeFaan Kim, saying he last spoke to his son Sunday and never expected he would do anything violent.

“He was kind of erratic in his speaking,” his father said. “He’s been dealing with mental issues. I tried to have him committed on several occasions. At one point, he was in the St. Elizabeth Mental Hospital and they let him out. I tried to get him committed, but they told me I couldn’t because he’s an adult.”

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He also released a prepared statement in which he faulted the judicial system for not getting his son help.

“To the families of the victims, I extend my deepest condolences and am truly sorry for their losses and the circumstances that have brought me to this statement today,” he said. “I have just recently become aware of the arrest of my son, Gerald Brevard III, and what he is expected to be charged with. I haven’t been provided any details regarding his arrest and I am unable to speak on that particular subject. I can, however, speak on who my son is. He is a good person and like many across the world, he suffers from mental illness. The bigger picture is not that he has mental illness, but the number of times that he’s been within the judicial system and how the system has failed regarding the treatment of so many, including my son. I don’t know what the evidence is, and as I mentioned earlier, I cannot speak to the details of the case. I can only speak to the issue of the failure of the judicial system identifying that my son suffers from mental illness but not treating it.”

The latest attacks were reminiscent of the beating deaths of four homeless men as they slept on the streets in New York’s Chinatown in the fall of 2019. Another homeless man, Randy Santos, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in those attacks.

A year ago, four people were stabbed in New York City, two fatally, by a man who randomly attacked homeless people in the subway system. That assailant, who also was homeless, is awaiting trial.

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