Tragedy struck at the Boulevard Houses off of Schenck Avenue in East New York. Seven-year-old Mikayla Capers and 6-year-old Prince Joshua Avitto stepped in an elevator to get icees. A man entered with them. He pulled a knife on them and stabbed the two children.
Mikayla and Prince Joshua, or PJ as he was called by loved ones and friends, were best friends and had been planning to get icees together. They left their home and entered the elevator in their complex. A heavyset man, said to be in his 20s entered with them and that’s when the unthinkable happened. The man drew a knife and stabbed both Mikayla and PJ. The man took off on foot, leaving the two children bloodied and fighting for their lives. Sophia Diaz, a resident of the complex, heard Mikayla’s calls for help, and found her bloodied. She said that PJ had also been stabbed. PJ was found “covered head to toe in blood.” He did not survive the attack and was found dead at the scene.
PJ’s birthday was coming up — he was to turn 7-years-old on June 17.
From the NY Times:
“‘Did P.J. die?,’” she said the girl asked Ms. Diaz’s sister in the ambulance. “‘Why did this man hurt me?’” Ms. Diaz’s sister said Mikayla was stabbed in the chest and had cuts on her hand.
A butcher’s knife was found at the scene.
“To see them come out and tell her he didn’t make it — ” Ms. Diaz started sobbing. “His birthday is June 17. He didn’t even make it to seven years old. How could a grown man who was as big as they say he is find it in his heart to do that them? When P.J. is only 40, 50 pounds?”
Mikayla was able to give the police a description of the suspect.
Police have since released a sketch.
SERIAL KILLER: NYPD released Skech of suspect wanted for stabbing and killing 6y/o boy, $12,000 Reward. SHARE! pic.twitter.com/4e9q58CMUC
— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) June 3, 2014
On Monday night, a vigil was held for PJ. According to the NY Times:
The crowd was so thick that it had to part for P.J.’s parents to walk through.
“Find this man; bring him to justice,” said P.J.’s mother, Arica McClinton. “Our baby gone, he not coming back, his birthday in 15 days.”
Beside her, P.J.’s father, Nicholas Avitto, wore a picture of his son pinned to his plaid shirt. He wept as she spoke and said, “Oh God, I can’t do this. My son is gone, I got to go.”
“They took away my pride and joy, my life, my reason to live, my backbone — my baby.”
Rochelle Copeland, the mother of the 18-year-old who was fatally stabbed on Friday, pleaded to get the killer — or killers — off the streets.
“They stabbed an 18-year-old girl over 30 times, a 7-year-old girl more than 15 times,” she said, pointing to the television cameras. “We need help. You help us.”
The New York Times reported that over $60 million was allocated for all of the public housing over “the past several years,” but no security cameras have been installed at the Boulevard Houses. The NYCHA have been slow to implement security as the process was “too complex.” Police and critics, however, agree that surveillance cameras should be installed in elevators, as project housing elevators attracts a high number of crime.
It was reported that Mikayla has not yet been told about PJ.