Funeral held for boy killed in elevator stabbing - New York News

Funeral held for boy killed in elevator stabbing

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Daniel St. Hubert, 27, is charged with multiple stabbings including the stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy in Brooklyn. Daniel St. Hubert, 27, is charged with multiple stabbings including the stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy in Brooklyn.
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Funeral services were held Friday for Prince Joshua Avitto, the Brooklyn boy killed in a knife attack on Sunday. 

The funeral took place at 8:30 a.m. at St. Paul's Community Baptist Church. It was attended by about a thousand mourners.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife and the Rev. Al Sharpton attended a private wake before the funeral of Prince Joshua, known as P.J. The line of relatives, friends and community members stretched around the block outside the church in the East New York neighborhood.

Taj Gibson, a relative and a player for the Chicago Bulls, was there, as were the team's coach, Tom Thibodeau, and staff from the first-grader's school.

A photo slideshow featuring images of the smiling boy was displayed above the church's main stage and family members dressed in white.

"We've come today to celebrate P.J.'s life," the Rev. David Brawley said. "But we must acknowledge that his life was ended way too soon."

Among the flower arrangements placed on the altar was a Superman-themed bouquet, an ode to P.J.'s "Superman" nickname. His body was taken out of the church in a small white casket, which was put into the hearse to go to a crematorium for a private, family-only service. White doves were released after the casket was loaded into the hearse.

The man arrested in connection with the stabbings of the 6-year-old and a 7-year-old girl inside an elevator in East New York has several new charges to add to his already long rap sheet.

NYPD detectives caught Daniel St. Hubert, 27, near 145th Street and 133rd Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens, just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, police said, and took him to the 90th precinct.

Investigators believe St. Hubert stabbed Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, and Mikela Capers, 7, inside an elevator in a public housing apartment building in East New York on Sunday. Avitto died, while Capers was critically wounded.

Just minutes before cops made the arrest, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton identified St. Hubert as the suspect and asked the public to call in any information about his whereabouts. A reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer had swelled to $63,000. It is not clear if a tip from the public led to St. Hubert's capture.

Authorities have charged St. Hubert with murder, attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument.

St. Hubert has a long rap sheet, police said. He was released on parole on May 23, just days before the attacks and after serving a five-year sentence for attempted murder. St. Hubert attempted to strangle his mother with a telephone wire, according to the NY Times.

Detectives have said they are investigating where the man who attacked the children was the same person who fatally stabbed a nursing school student, Tanya Copeland, 18, two days earlier. Detectives found several "common factors" between two attacks, but some differences, too. "These factors, including the types of weapons used in the two homicides, and the close proximity of the incidents, have led detectives to believe that both of these cases may be related," police said in a statement. Copeland's body was found near a rail yard.

Authorities said that Avitto and Capers were on their way to get ice cream when an attacker stabbed them several times in the elevator. He dropped the knife outside the building as he fled, police said.

"This is a particularly heinous crime," Bratton said earlier this week. "Two young children in an elevator with no place to escape, nothing at all, and some character gets on and just starts stabbing them? ... [Residents] have every right to be concerned."

A grieving Nicholas Avitto, the victim's father, had been seen walking the same route to school since the murder as he did with his son carrying the boy's backpack. On Thursday, with the boy's initials shaved into his hair, he spoke with Fox 5 News about the tragedy.

"I'm at a loss for words. The bottom line is he got out and this tragedy took place after he was released from jail. What compelled you to do this? It’s unfathomable. I can’t believe this happened," said Avitto.

The building where the children were stabbed does not have security cameras installed, police said. 

Inez Rodriguez, the local Tenant Association president, said she was in shock at the death of Prince and the wounding of Mikela. "These are babies like I said why would anyone want to harm children?" she told Fox 5.

Kevin Velez, one of their neighbors, said he saw EMTs carry Avitto out on Sunday.

"He was lifeless," he said. "A very good boy, very respectful running around full of life."

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