published Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Police arrest man in elevator stabbing of boy, 6

NEW YORK — A man believed to have stabbed a 6-year-old boy to death and critically injured a 7-year-old girl in a knife attack in a public housing building that didn't have security cameras was arrested Wednesday, police said.

Authorities said 27-year-old Daniel St. Hubert was held Wednesday night in connection with the death of Prince Joshua Avitto and the injuring of Mikayla Capers. Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson says Prince was his cousin.

St. Hubert was in custody on Wednesday night and couldn't be contacted for comment. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Police Commissioner William Bratton, shortly before the announcement of St. Hubert's arrest, had appealed for the public's help in catching him.

"We need your assistance to apprehend this individual as soon as possible," he said.

Before the Sunday evening attack, the boy and the girl had been playing outside the Boulevard Houses under adult supervision. Relatives and witnesses said they went inside alone when they were cornered by a heavyset man in his 20s.

The man used a steak knife to stab each child multiple times, police said. He fled on foot, leaving the knife outside the building, they said. Prince was found in the elevator, Mikayla just outside the building.

Police said they were investigating whether the attacker may have fatally stabbed an 18-year-old woman days earlier a few blocks away. A similar knife was recovered at the scene of that slaying.

The knife attack cast a spotlight on the issue of surveillance cameras because none was in place to capture any images of the attacker despite funds set aside by the New York City Housing Authority to pay for them.

About 58 percent of the 334 city housing developments, encompassing more than 2,500 buildings, have some cameras, according to Housing Authority testimony delivered this week to the City Council. But only 41 percent of the individual building stock has cameras, leaving the majority of lobbies, elevators and stairwells unwatched.

Meanwhile, the New York Police Department operates more than 7,000 cameras throughout Manhattan, particularly near Times Square, the World Trade Center and other tourist locations. Additionally, thousands upon thousands of private cameras have been installed across the five boroughs, providing video coverage of much of the city's streets that can potentially be used by police as evidence.

Across the city, major crime continues to fall, down 2.4 percent from this time a year ago. Major crime in public housing has ticked up only slightly. Housing Authority buildings are the site of about 20 percent of the city's murders while they house only 7 percent of its population.

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