NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD says they’ve arrested a killer who preyed on victims at a home for seniors in Brooklyn.
According to police, Kevin Gavin, 66, killed three residents at the Carter G. Woodson Houses between 2015 and 2021.READ MORE: Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Paul Simon And More: Full Lineup Revealed For 'We Love New York City: The Homecoming Concert' In Central Park
“Mr. Gavin was familiar with many of the residents in the building and ran errands for some of the elderly tenants who resided at that location,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison.
Police say they think Gavin attacked the women after arguments over money.
Watch: NYPD Officials Announce Arrest In Killing Of 3 Elderly Women
Gavin lives in the building, Harrison said. He has prior arrests, most on drug-related charges, he added.
Harrison said Gavin killed Myrtle McKenny, 82, who was found by her home health aide in her apartment in Nov. 2015. Police say they initially believed McKenny died of natural causes, but further investigation revealed a stab wound in the neck.
The second homicide victim was Jacolia James, 83, who was found by her grandson in May 2019.
“Ms. James had injuries to her face and neck which were highly suspicious,” Harrison said.
Juanita Caballero, 78, was found on Jan. 15 with a telephone cord wrapped around her neck. Her son, Steven, was the one who found her body.
“I’m heartbroken,” he said. “I can never get the vision of seeing my mother out my eyes.”
“I wanted the community to know that I know how devastating these losses have been to the people of Brownsville, to the residents of those houses,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “These women who were beloved mothers and grandmothers and neighbors, the fear that has existed in the Woodson Houses regarding what’s happening there.”
“I am confident the defendant took advantage of his relationship with these women, was allowed into their homes, and did unspeakable acts of violence against them,” Gonzalez added. “I think that this arrest will have a profound impact on the sense of public safety in Brooklyn.”
Thursday afternoon, the family of Cabarello gathered in prayer, expressing both relief and sadness after police announced Gavin’s arrest.
“We want justice. We want action. My mother’s friends, they still live in this building. They need to be protected,” Steven Cabarello said.READ MORE: Capitol Police Detail Violence, Injuries As Hearings Begin Into Jan. 6 Insurrection
Investigators say Gavin became a prime suspect after James’ murder and forensic evidence in Juanita Cabarello’s murder was the final link that lead to Gavin’s arrest.
“There was some additional evidence in this most recent homicide that allowed us to make the connection,” Gonzalez said.
Watch Hazel Sanchez’s report —
“I can’t lie, I’m not surprised,” tenant Esther Williams said.
“Why do you say that?” CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez asked.
“Because he was always in and out of the building. He had access to the building. He had access to the tenants. All the tenants know him. And he was always looking for money,” Williams said.
“I never thought he would do something like this,” Brownsville resident Mae Frazier said.
Local leaders joined the families of the victims in a continued call for more security in the building. NYCHA says there are cameras in the lobby and a security guard, and it’s trying to speed up the installation of CCTV cameras.
Tenants believe the cameras could have closed this case long ago. The family says it’s too little too late.
“NYCHA failed our families,” Steven Cabarello said.
“I hope that the guy that they caught, whoever that person may be, is prosecuted so my family and their family can have closure,” said Lamarr Crafton, grandson of Jacolia James.
Police say Gavin did make statements about the three murders.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports police are investigating a fourth murder involving a man who lived in the same building, but that murder has not been linked to the other three at this time.
The case is ongoing, officials said.
CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez and Ali Bauman contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: NYC DOT Asks New Yorkers To Weigh In On Future Citi Bike Station Locations In Brooklyn, Queens
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