Brooklyn Serial Stabber: Murder Of 6-Year-Old P.J. Avitto May Be Related To Earlier Slaying, Police Say

A Brooklyn serial stabber could be responsible for the murder of 6-year-old P.J. Avitto, who was attacked at random in a public housing development on Scnheck Avenue.

The boy was inside an elevator with his best friend, 7-year-old Mikayla Capers, when a man attacked the pair with an 8-inch kitchen knife with a black handle. Police said the knife was similar to one found after an attack on Friday a few blocks away that left 18-year-old nursing student Tanaya Copeland dead.

In a briefing on Monday evening, police said there were “several common factors” in the slayings that would indicate the work of a Brooklyn serial stabber. Police described the suspect as a heavy-set black man in his 20s wearing a grey sweatshirt and released a sketch of the suspect on Monday using information Capers provided from her hospital bed. Authorities noted that they don’t have video from either incident.

“We got to find this man. We all have to find this man,” said Aricka McClinton, P.J.’s mother. “My baby is gone. My niece is critical. We’ve got to find this man.”

P.J. Avitto, who is the cousin of NBA player Taj Gibson, was killed just 15 days before his seventh birthday, his mother noted.

Rochelle Bruce, the mother of Mikayla Capers, pleaded for those in the community to help find the Brooklyn stabbing suspect.

“This individual who took my daughter’s life; stabbed an 18-year-old child over 30 times, a 7-year-old girl 15 times, and a little boy,” she said. “I mean, if anybody, please, if you all know anything, you all go to open your mouth, because it could be your child next.”

Police said they are pouring resources into the search for the Brooklyn serial stabber.

“We have all department resources focused on that particular area; very concerned about it,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “We have re-canvasses – we canvassed last night; we re-canvassed today.”

In addition to searching for the suspect, police said they would be employing extra officers to protect children from the Brooklyn serial stabber.

“We have deployed additional officers into that area for the children who walk to and from the various schools. . . and we will continue doing that going forward,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

The NYPD is offering $12,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the Brooklyn serial stabber. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577.