homeless men attacked

Suspect in Attacks on Homeless Men in Court as Victim Fights for Life

Court documents reveal one victim could be heard saying on surveillance video, "No, no, no. Please don't shoot," during the attack

NBC Universal, Inc.

The man accused of killing two homeless men and shooting at others in Washington, D.C., and New York City appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday, and court documents reveal that one victim is still fighting for his life in the hospital.

Gerald Brevard III, 30, who was arrested Tuesday in Southeast D.C. after a multistate manhunt, was charged with first-degree murder and assault in relation to the attacks on homeless men.

Court documents released Wednesday reveal the second man attacked in D.C. was shot as many as five times, including in the head and face. He remains in the hospital, the documents said.

In the charging documents, prosecutors say there is surveillance video of that second
shooting. The victim can be heard saying, "No, no, no. Please don't shoot."

Prosecutors in court described the shootings in D.C. as a disturbing escalation of violent behavior.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Brevard's father told News4 his son suffers from mental health issues and believes his son was largely “failed” by the justice system.

"Over the years of dealing with him and his mental issues, I could just see how it just deteriorated and how he was just left out there on the streets. He was homeless for a while," he said.

A man accused of shooting and killing homeless people was arrested Tuesday. The suspect's father spoke to News4's Shomari Stone about his son's troubled life.

Just hours before he was arrested, prosecutors said police saw an Instagram post from Brevard in which he wrote, "Feeling Devilish Feeling Godly."

Prosecutors also said Brevard's cell phone records place him in D.C. and New York at the time of the shootings. His defense attorney argued there is very little evidence connecting Brevard to any of the shootings.

A judge ordered Brevard held in jail until his next hearing.

The Break in the Case

A captain in the D.C. police homicide unit was scrolling Twitter when he spotted the lead that broke the case wide open, the connection between crimes 200 miles apart.

Captain Kevin Kentish is the supervisor of the Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide detectives and often in front of TV cameras to speak to the press.

A few days ago while scrolling Twitter, he saw a tweet from police in New York (where he’s originally from) that had him doing a double take. 

A few days before a suspect in attacks on homeless people was arrested, a D.C. police captain saw a tweet from NYPD that had him doing a double take. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

"As I was scrolling through, fortunately for us, NYPD was able to release some pretty good images as well as video," Kentish said.

He was struck by how closely the man New York detectives were seeking for multiple attacks on unhoused men in lower Manhattan resembled the man D.C. detectives were seeking for multiple attacks on unhoused men in northeast Washington.

A call to the NYPD led to a joint press conference by mayors of both cities and the release of more images. That, in turn, led to the Tuesday arrest of Gerald Brevard III at a gas station in Southeast D.C.

"We do believe in coincidences, but that was just a coincidence that we were lucky enough to act on. My officials [were] smart enough... to push it on to our detectives," Kentish said. "And kudos to our detectives who immediately got on the phone with New York and started piecing things together."

The Suspect's Criminal History

Brevard has a lengthy arrest record that includes charges in multiple jurisdictions. He was wanted on dozens of charges in Maryland. He was also scheduled to be in court in Virginia this week for allegedly violating his probation, and according to online court records, has faced charges in the District as well. 

Virginia

In Fairfax County, Virginia, Brevard was charged with multiple crimes, including attacks on women in the Herndon area in 2020.

As part of a plea deal, his initial felony charges of abduction with intent to defile and burglary were downgraded to misdemeanors. He was sentenced to serve 11 months for assault and battery and unlawful entry but was released or transferred from the Fairfax County jail before that sentence was complete. 

He was sentenced to a year of probation. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the plea agreement was reached because the witness couldn’t positively identify Brevard and there was no fingerprint evidence. 

Court documents show prosecutors did recommend mental health and substance abuse evaluations. 

Last month, Brevard was charged with violating his probation on the Fairfax County charges and was scheduled to appear in court this Thursday. 

D.C. 

In the nation’s capital., the suspect has faced a number of charges, including assaulting a police officer and theft in 2018 and 2019. 

According to D.C. Superior Court documents, Brevard was preliminarily found not competent to stand trial. The court sent him to Saint Elizabeths Hospital for an evaluation, where he was treated and later deemed competent. 

Maryland

In Cecil County, Maryland, a court clerk confirmed Brevard is wanted on nearly three dozen misdemeanor theft and fraud charges. That bench warrant was issued in February of last year.

Brevard’s father, Gerald Brevard Jr., said in a statement that he extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and is sorry for the lives that were lost in D.C. and New York City. 

"I'm pained... He's always been a nonviolent, mild-mannered kid, very timid," he said in a phone call with News4's Shomari Stone. "I know it's alleged, but if it turns out to be true, knowing what I know over the years of dealing with him and his mental issues, I can just see how it just deteriorated."

In his statement, Brevard Jr. said he couldn’t speak to details of the case.

“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,” Brevard Jr. said.

He said his son was also homeless at times and stayed in a shelter in D.C. He has no idea why the suspect may have targeted homeless people or how he could have traveled to New York, since he doesn’t own a car. 

Contact Us