Gerald Brevard was arrested in Washington on Tuesday morning after a multi-state manhunt for the attacks on homeless people.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said Brevard was a "strong person of interest" after numerous tips were sent to law enforcement.
Essig said that Brevard was taken into custody by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). No weapon was found, but he said that the suspect was wearing similar clothing to that captured by security cameras on Saturday in two shootings.
One of two attacks on Saturday was captured on video that showed a man nudging a sleeping homeless man, looking around, and then pulling out a gun and shooting him. That man died.
A previous attack was discovered on March 9 when a homeless person was found dead inside a burning tent. Investigators later concluded that he had died of multiple stab and gunshot wounds.
D.C. police said that ballistics evidence linked five attacks on homeless people to the same gun.
WNBC-TV reported that Brevard had previously pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. He was admitted into a psychiatric facility in 2019 and found incompetent to stand trial a month later. He was sentenced to a year in prison but had that sentence suspended.
Brevard's father said in a statement to the New York Times that his son suffered from an untreated mental illness.
"I cannot speak to the details of the case," the father said. "I can only speak to the issue of the failure of the judicial system identifying that my son suffers from mental illness but not treating it."
Brevard is being questioned by homicide detectives in Washington, D.C.
Here's a local news video about the suspect's arrest:
Suspect in arrested in string of homeless attacks www.youtube.com