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Families Express Gratitude To NYPD After East New York Stabbing Suspect Is Caught

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The families of two children who were stabbed in East New York, Brooklyn this past weekend were expressing gratitude and grief Thursday after a suspect was apprehended.

As CBS 2's Andrea Grymes reported, the families of Prince Joshua "P.J." Avitto, 6, and Mikayla Capers, 7, expressed profound thanks to the NYPD for their effort to catch the alleged killer. This past Sunday, P.J. was killed and Mikayla was critically injured in an elevator in a public housing development on Schenck Avenue.

On Wednesday night, suspect Daniel St. Hubert, 27, was arrested in Queens in connection with the attack.

"I want to thank NYPD. You did a wonderful job. You all didn't rest. You didn't eat. You didn't sleep. You been there," said P.J.'s mother, Aricka McClinton.

McClinton praised investigators for capturing the man who allegedly murdered son. The grieving mother spoke Thursday with community members outside the Boulevard Houses development.

"My baby Prince came to me in my sleep. (He said), 'Mommy – everything's going to be all right,' and he left," McClinton said. "He said: 'Don't stop. Don't give up. You have to move and move on.'"

McClinton said she knows her son is in heaven. Mikayla remained hospitalized with critical injuries, but police said she is doing much better.

Mikayla's great grandmother, Regenia Trevathan, showed CBS 2 a picture of the two children - described as best friends. They had been playing outside, and then ran in for a snack Sunday when they were attacked.

Police said the suspect followed them into the elevator and used a steak knife to stab each child multiple times.

"I can tell you (Mikayla is) alive, and I'm thankful for that," Trevathan said Thursday.

Trevathan, a retired correction officer, was also thankful for the NYPD - who arrested St. Hubert after a 3-day manhunt. Police on Thursday were still not sure why St. Hubert was in the East New York building on Sunday.

"My colleagues in law enforcement who did a tremendous, tremendous job; I thank the mayor," Trevathan said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio himself expressed gratitude to the NYPD.

"It's very gratifying that the NYPD put in such a huge effort, and so quickly found him, and he's off the streets and he's not coming back.

Earlier Thursday, a plastic tarp protected a growing memorial outside from the rain. Meanwhile, McClinton was finishing up final preparations for a funeral for her son on Friday, knowing his alleged attacker is off the streets.

"NYPD, you all keep strong. I'm praying for each and every one of you and I want to say thank you. I can't say thank you enough," McClinton said.

Both Mikayla and P.J.'s families said they plan to be in court for St. Hubert's appearances. P.J's mother said she wants to make sure justice is served.

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