The Washington Post

Man indicted in attacks on three homeless men

- BY KEITH L. ALEXANDER

A D.C. grand jury on Wednesday indicted a local man on 17 criminal charges, including murder and assault, for attacks on three homeless men earlier this year — a spree of violence that sparked a massive police search in Washington and New York City, where officials feared someone was preying on vulnerable people.

The new indictment alleges the attacks were bias-related hate crimes, and prosecutor­s asserted Gerald Brevard III chose his victims because they were homeless or he believed they were homeless.

The attacks in the District occurred between March 3 and March 9. Prosecutor­s alleged Brevard, 31, assaulted two homeless men with a firearm, one of whom “suffered serious and permanent bodily injury.” They said Brevard fatally shot and stabbed a third victim, Morgan Holmes, 54, who was found in a tent that was set on fire along New York Avenue in Northeast Washington.

The allegation that Brevard committed hate crimes could enhance his sentence, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in the District. Brevard faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibilit­y of parole on the murder charge, if aggravatin­g circumstan­ces are found by a jury, the statement said.

Emails seeking comment from Brevard’s public defenders were not returned.

Brevard is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on Oct. 18 in D.C. Superior Court.

The series of attacks in Washington and New York sparked fear among homeless people, their families and authoritie­s. Authoritie­s believe Brevard was also responsibl­e for attacks on two homeless men in New York City, one of which was fatal.

Authoritie­s believe after the March 9 slaying of Holmes, Brevard traveled to New York City. There, a homeless man was shot in the early morning hours as he slept near the Holland Tunnel, authoritie­s said. About 90 minutes later, police said another homeless man was fatally shot in his sleeping bag 15 blocks away.

D.C. detectives identified Brevard as a suspect using witness accounts that all gave similar clothing descriptio­ns, as well as security camera images. Detectives determined the attacks in D.C. and New York were carried out in similar fashion, and that cellphone location data put Brevard in both cities when the attacks occurred.

Police said they have no informatio­n as to how or why Brevard apparently traveled to New York, a city to which his family and authoritie­s said he is not known to be tied. Family members have described Brevard as being homeless himself.

D.C. police arrested Brevard on March 15.

According to court records, Brevard had been in and out of jails for years in Maryland, the District and Virginia on charges ranging from shopliftin­g and unlawful entry to attacking a bicyclist with a knife and assaulting a police officer. Most recently, he served several months in Fairfax County jail after he was arrested on an abduction charge that was reduced to misdemeano­r assault in a plea agreement. Prosecutor­s say Brevard is still on probation from that case.

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