Suspect wounded two men and killed a third because they were homeless: police

A suspect was arrested Wednesday and charged with wounding two men and murdering a third, allegedly because they were homeless, police said.

Gerald Brevard III, 31, was indicted on federal hate crime charges in Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Justice Department. Brevard was charged with 17 total counts for his alleged crimes, including first-degree murder, assault with intent to kill, aggravated assault, mayhem, and firearms offenses. He is set to be arraigned on the charges on Oct. 18.

According to the indictment, all of the attacks occurred this past March. Brevard first attacked two men in Washington, D.C., assaulting them with a gun and causing one to suffer "serious and permanent bodily injury.” It is also alleged that Brevard shot and killed a third man, 54-year-old Morgan Holmes, the next day, and had also stabbed him.

The indictment alleges that Brevard attacked these three men because they were either homeless, or Brevard simply believed that they looked homeless.

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As a result, the Justice Department claimed that these attacks were "bias-related hate crimes," and Brevard could potentially face more charges if a bias is proved.

The attacks caused a massive manhunt to get underway in both Washington, D.C. and New York City, involving the city's Metropolitan Police Department and multiple federal agencies. It was thought that Brevard may have been connected to a string of attacks on homeless people in New York City, including another fatal shooting of a homeless man, so the NYPD also joined the investigation.

Brevard was arrested days after the attacks, on March 15, though he has only been charged with the crimes in Washington, D.C.

If found guilty, Brevard could face up to 1.5 times the prison sentence if it is proved that the attacks were hate crimes, according to the Justice Department.

Sadly, this is not a standalone trend, as violence against the homeless appears to be increasing. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there were 1,852 acts of violence against homeless people from 1999 to 2019, with 515 of them being fatal.