Detective’s Twitter timeline helped catch suspect in multi-city shootings of homeless men

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Kevin Contee credited “good police work, science and community support”

By Suzie Ziegler 

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, detectives in New York City and D.C. were each investigating seemingly unrelated shootings of homeless individuals. In D.C. on March 9, a homeless person was killed after being shot and stabbed. In New York on March 12, two homeless men were shot while they were sleeping, and one died. 

Police later tied one man to five shootings – three in D.C. and two in New York – perpetrated across two weeks. The suspect is now in custody, and it’s all thanks to a detective’s social media habits, reported CNN

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, left, and Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III, right, with Capt. Kevin Kentish.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, left, and Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III, right, with Capt. Kevin Kentish. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Capt. Kevin Kentish, who works for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department but was born in Queens, likes to keep up with news from his home state, according to the report. So, when Kentish was scrolling through Twitter, he paused on an NYPD tweet. The NYPD had released a photo of a person of interest in the shootings of two homeless people. 

Kentish alerted his MPD colleagues of the photos and reached out to New York and federal law enforcement agencies to compare evidence, including shell casings, according to the report. 

"Our partners at the ATF tested our evidence that was recovered, they tested the evidence that was recovered in New York and we got a hit," Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee told CNN. It was the same person. 

Anonymous tips helped investigators identify and arrest 30-year-old Gerald Brevard III. In D.C., Brevard was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of assault with the intent to kill for one fatal shooting and two non-fatal shootings. 

Charges have not yet been announced in New York City, although police are confident it is the same suspect. 

"We don't have enough to make an arrest, we're working with the Manhattan district attorney, we're gathering all our evidence," said James Essig, NYPD’s Chief of Detectives. "I'm very confident we'll get there." 

Contee praised the efforts of investigators and community cooperation. 

"We've got our man," he said at a news conference last week. "This case is an example of what happens when there is good police work, science and community support." 

Brevard has not offered a motive for the shootings, according to the report. 

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