World news – NYPD arrests alleged serial killers of elderly women in NYCHA building in Brooklyn


Police have arrested a man suspected of killing three women in the same public house in Brownsville since 2015.

Rodney Harrison, NYPD chief investigator, announced that officer Kevin Gavin was responsible for the three Arrested murders. « Mr. Gavin was familiar with many of the residents in the building » – 393 Powell Street in the Woodson Houses – « and ran errands for some of the older tenants who lived in the place, » he said.

Gavin also lived on Powell 393 Street. Harrison said forensic evidence and « credible witnesses » helped lead her to Gavin.

On Friday, Juanita Caballero, 78, passed out in her 6th floor apartment with a phone cord around her neck found, said Harrison. Her son discovered her because he was planning to spend the weekend with her. EMS declared Caballero dead at the scene.

Caballero’s death outraged the residents, who had long been demanding more security in the building. Councilor Inez Barron told the Daily News, « This is the third time a senior has been murdered in his own apartment in this residence. The previous two incidents have yet to be resolved. These are still open cases, and I. » I am also very concerned about this. « 

Resident Myrtle McKenny’s housekeeper called the police on November 9, 2015 because the 82-year-old was passed out in her apartment. McKenny was pronounced dead on the scene and a month later the coroner found that she was the victim of murder after she was stabbed in the neck, at the time the NY Times noted that the lobby and halls of the building had no cameras, despite residents asking for them.

Almost four years Police later found Jacolia James, 83, passed out in her 11th floor apartment at 393 Powell Street on April 30, 2019. James’ grandson found her with head and neck trauma and she was pronounced dead on the scene. Again Residents called for more security; they said there was only one security camera over a delivery door to the senior citizen center, but still no cameras at the entrance or in the lobby.

James’ daughter sued NYCHA in 2020 for lack of security measures in the building and accused the agency of not having surveillance cameras or guards. The lawsuit states, « Despite this 2015 murder, no security measures were in place to protect the safety of residents. »

The investigation is still ongoing, Harrison said, adding that it is possible that the killings are on Disagreements over money.

David Barrere, Chief of Housing at NYPD, said, « NYCA put four cameras [in the lobby] about a year ago. There were plans to add 65 additional cameras to this building. Unfortunately COVID was hit and the capital budget was taken away.  » They were never installed. « 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, whose office is part of the investigation, said he was confident » that we have the right person in custody. « He hopes to have a grand jury soon to indict Gavin .

By submitting your information, you are agreeing to receive communications from New York Public Radio in accordance with our Terms of Use.

Gothamist is a New York news, art, events, and food website brought to you by New York Public Radio.

Gothamist is supported by the American Express Foundation.


Sign up for our newsletter! Share your email address to receive our top stories every day.

By submitting your information, you are agreeing to receive communications from New York Public Radio in accordance with our Terms of Use.