NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man appeared before a judge late Thursday, after being charged in an elevator stabbing in Brooklyn that killed a 6-year-old boy and critically injured a 7-year-old girl is also being eyed in two other knife attacks in the city.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, Daniel St. Hubert, 27, was apprehended on Wednesday evening.
He was officially charged Thursday with murder, attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument.
He had been wanted for killing Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto and critically injuring Mikayla Capers at the Boulevard Houses in East New York on Sunday.
A crowd yelled at St. Hubert and called him a murderer as he was led out of the 90th Precinct police station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Thursday night.
He was taken to Brooklyn Criminal Court, where an Assistant District Attorney requested that St. Hubert remain in custody due to the “heinous and vicious nature” his crime, Carlin reported. Prosecutors also considered him a flight risk, and said he was supposed to be in a halfway house but absconded.
The hearing was adjourned and was set to resume on Friday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, one resident who saw St. Hubert outside the police station said the defendant actually did not look like the monster he is accused of being.
“He looked young, meek and mild, so it’s very sad,” she said.
Another resident said a way must be found to keep similar people from being released from prison and immediately attacking people.
Police: Defendant May Be Linked To Subway Attack
Meanwhile Thursday, investigators said St. Hubert also may be connected to a subway stabbing attack Wednesday in Chelsea. In that incident, a man was stabbed multiple times on the southbound No. 1 train platform at 18th Street, police said.
Police spokesman Stephen Davis said St. Hubert was seen on surveillance video near the subway station where the attack occurred. Witnesses said a man who looks like St. Hubert was also seen on the subway platform, Davis said.
In that attack, sources told CBS 2 the victim, a 52-year-old homeless man, was sleeping on the platform and St. Hubert was sitting on a bench. St Hubert then got on an incoming train, quickly jumped off and sat on the same bench.
A witness then heard grunting, turned back around and saw St. Hubert walking away holding a brown knife with an 8- to 10-inch handle, sources told CBS 2.
The witness said the homeless man then yelled, “he just stabbed me,” staggered out of the station, and collapsed on Seventh Avenue and 18th Street, sources said.
The victim was listed in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital as of Thursday.
Police said they are also investigating whether St. Hubert may have stabbed to death 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland, who was killed Friday just a few blocks away from Sunday’s incident.
A similar knife was found at the scene of Copeland’s slaying, but more forensic and DNA testing is needed, police said.
Suspect Apprehended After Writing ‘Killzz’ On Stop Sign, Police Say
St. Hubert was picked up in Ozone Park, Queens Wednesday night. Sources told CBS 2 police tracked his cellphone and zeroed in on his location.
Police were watching St. Hubert as he walked down a residential block in Queens around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. They spotted him use a marker to deface a stop sign at the intersection of 145th Street and 133rd Avenue in Queens, writing, “Killzz I Will Bk,” along with a smiley face and winking eye, sources told CBS 2.
“My skin is crawling just, like, thinking about it,” said neighbor Nydia Cardoza.
Police said St. Hubert was found blocks from his own mother’s house. Investigators said he was armed with an 8-inch knife.
After the arrest, police sources told CBS 2 that St. Hubert made incoherent ramblings about the devil while in a holding cell in the police station.
Neighbor Walter Asemota ran into St. Hubert just hours before the suspect was arrested.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Walter Asemota. “It was just so shocking.”
Asemota was still shaken about it on Thursday afternoon.
“He was so collected. He told me he lift weights, he eats and rests in jail,” Asemota said. “He took a walk — he was strolling casually.”
The encounter happened around lunchtime on Wednesday, Asemota said.
In the midst of a three-day manhunt St. Hubert had been given a summons Tuesday for public urination in Brooklyn 11 hours before he was identified as the suspect in Sunday’s stabbings.
His arrest Wednesday happened less than an hour after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio named St. Hubert as a suspect and turned to the public for help in finding him.
“I want to thank everybody who has been involved in this whole ordeal from start to finish,” P.J.’s mother, Aricka McClinton, said Thursday morning. “You all didn’t rest, you didn’t eat, you didn’t sleep. You did what you had to do.”
P.J.’s father, Nicholas Avitto, said he would ask the suspect a few questions if he saw him.
“Why would you do this?” he said. “What compelled you to do this?”
Children Were Attacked In Elevator After Playing Outside
Around 6 p.m. Sunday, the children had been playing outside under adult supervision when they went upstairs to get some ice cream from P.J.’s sixth-floor apartment.
That was when police said the suspect followed them into the elevator and used a steak knife to stab each child multiple times.
P.J. died at a hospital. Mikayla remains in critical but stable condition. Her family says she is in the Intensive Care Unit with a breathing tube and is in and out of consciousness, but responding to commands.
Investigators said St. Hubert had shaved his head since Sunday’s stabbing. He was on parole and had missed a scheduled meeting with a parole officer on Tuesday.
Police said they were able to identify St. Hubert as a suspect from DNA found on the knife used in the elevator attack.
Suspect St. Hubert Has Long Rap Sheet
Investigators say St. Hubert had been let out of prison on May 23 after serving a five-year sentence for domestic assault and attempted murder for trying to kill his ex-girlfriend.
He also has nine prior arrests, including two for assaulting police and correction officers.
Back in 2008, his own mother filed an order of protection against him. Months later, police said he punched her numerous times in the face, wrapped an electrical cord around her head and told her he was going to kill her.
“I know what he did to his mom. He was locked up for a very long time, so I was surprised to see him,” Asemota said.
After the incident with his mother, St. Hubert was eventually sent to a psychiatric facility for seven months.
St. Hubert’s mother did not answer her door Thursday night.
And as 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, St. Hubert’s sister told the New York Times her brother suffered from mental illness and received no treatment in prison.
“This is someone who probably had very severe mental health problems, and I don’t know why those were not caught and treated earlier,” Mayor de Blasio said.
De Blasio said the failure of the prison system to treat mental illness is a growing problem.
“We don’t put resources in as a country. We should not be surprised that there are so many tragic situations,” he said.
Mayor de Blasio said he is formulating a mental health initiative, which includes making mental health services available at the public school level.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- CBS2 Exclusive: At Underground Dinner Guests Eat Meals Cooked In Cannabis
- CBS2 Exclusive: ‘The Miracle On 93rd’ Man Recalls Being Saved By FDNY In Daring ‘Roof Rope Rescue’
- Mike Pence’s Plane Skids Off Runway While Landing At LaGuardia
- Study Suggests Possibility Of Male Birth Control, But We’re Not There Yet