Gerald Brevard III, 30, a Washington, D.C., man whose family said he struggles with mental illness and sometimes lived on the streets was arrested Tuesday and charged in a series of attacks on homeless men that rattled vulnerable communities in the D.C. and New York City. Brevard had been in and out of jail in D.C., Virginia and Maryland on varying charges including assaulting a police officer and shoplifting. Most recently he served several months in the Fairfax County, Va., jail after he was arrested on an abduction charge that was reduced to misdemeanor assault in a plea agreement, the Washington Post reports. Now, D.C. has charged Brevard with first-degree murder, assault with intent to kill and assault with a dangerous weapon for attacks on three homeless men in Washington between March 3 and March 9. One of those men died. New York authorities believe Brevard shot two homeless men as they slept on the streets in Lower Manhattan on Saturday, killing one. Brevard is expected to make an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday for the charges. “What he’s being accused of is a shock to us,” said Brevard’s aunt, Sheila Renee Brevard, who lives in West Virginia. She said her nephew had “been going in and out of the judicial system. They’ve identified his mental illness, but like many other people, it wasn’t treated properly.” Brevard’s family expressed their “deepest condolences” to the victims and their families. They said they know of no connection he might have to New York or how he might have traveled there.
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