Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a man who they say fatally stabbed a six-year-old boy and wounded his seven-year-old friend inside an elevator at an East New York housing complex last weekend.
The New York City Police Department says Daniel St. Hubert, 27, was apprehended by detectives shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday in the vicinity of 145 Street and 133 Avenue in Jamaica, Queens.
Sources say St. Hubert's mother's home is in the area, and that the police are trying to secure a search warrant for the premises.
The arrest took place shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton released a photo of St. Hubert and asked for the public's help finding him.
They said forensic evidence was recovered from the crime scene that led them to Hubert.
Authorities say he has nine prior arrests and was recently paroled for a domestic assault.
Sources say St. Hubert had served the maximum sentence of five years before being released on community supervision on May 23. They also say he was denied his initial conditional release on September 6, 2013.
Police had stepped up their presence at bus stations, commuter rails and Amtrak stations in case St. Hubert was trying to leave by bus or train.
Police say the suspect fatally stabbed Prince Joshua Avitto "PJ" Avitto, 6, and wounded his friend Mikayla Capers, 7, Sunday inside an elevator at the Boulevard Houses public housing complex in East New York.
Family members and neighbors of the children waited at the East New York police precinct grateful for an arrest Wednesday.
"They got him. We got one child that's dead and my great granddaughter is fighting for her life," said Capers' great-grandmother, Regina Trevathan.
Police had suspected the same man fatally stabbed Tanaya Copeland, 18, last Friday, but said at the press conference that St. Hubert was only being sought in connection with Sunday's stabbings.
It happened just a few blocks away from where the children were attacked.
"I'm very grateful and and thankful for the help everyone is given me and their support," said Copeland's mother, Rochelle Copeland.
"We're dealing with a dangerous assailant here so we want the community to be safe but it's going to be solved with your help in the community," said NYPD Brooklyn North Assistant Chief Gerald Nelson.
Owners of the Western Beef grocery chain donated $50,000 Wednesday to the reward money for anyone who had information leading to the suspect's arrest, bringing the total up to $62,000.
"We hope the announcement of this additional reward will assist in the the urgency in solving this horrific crime," said Benjamin Petrofsky of Western Beef.
Meantime, residents in the neighborhood where the attacks took place welcomed the news of an arrest Wednesday.
"That person needs to be helped because apparently he is not mentally capable of understanding the heinous thing that he's done. Hopefully our community is much more safer," said one East New York resident.
"Our children are very precious and this should never happen to us again," noted another resident.
PJ’s funeral and wake will be held Friday morning at St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn.