PJ Avitto's family recognizes man suspected of stabbing 6-year-old

Police released this sketch of the man they Police released this sketch of the man they suspect stabbed Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, and a 7-year-old girl in Brooklyn on Sunday night. Photo Credit: DCPI

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The uncle of a 6-year-old boy stabbed to death inside a Brooklyn elevator Sunday night said he vaguely recognizes the person in the police sketch of the suspect.

Prince Joshua "PJ" Avitto was on an ice cream run with his friend Mikayla Capers, 7, when they were both attacked inside East New York's Boulevard Houses at 5:50 p.m. Capers is recovering at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center from multiple stab wounds, said her mother, Sherina Capers. Police say the man who attacked the children may also be responsible for killing an 18-year-old Brooklyn college student on Friday.

"He looks familiar," PJ's uncle, Scott Avitto, said of the police sketch, adding that he'd seen the man "just in the neighborhood."

On Friday night a taxi driver found 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland after she was stabbed about 30 times, said community activist and family spokesman Tony Herbert. Police said the proximity of the attacks and the type of weapon used lead them to believe the same man killed the LIU Brooklyn student and aspiring nurse.

A few people have told Avitto they also recognize the man, who police describe as 6-feet-tall with a heavy build. But no one has yet been able to identify him.

Avitto hopes police catch the suspect soon -- "the sooner the better."

The family, meanwhile, has begun to plan the funeral for a boy many remember as happy and stubborn. PJ would have turned 7 in two weeks, his father, Nicholas Avitto, said.

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PJ's cousin, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, posted a photo of the smiling boy on Instagram on Monday, adding, "they killed my lil Superman."

His funeral will be held on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York.

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