Authorities announced the arrest of a man on Tuesday morning who is believed to have killed two homeless people and wounded three others in New York City and Washington D.C. in recent days.

The suspect, identified by police Tuesday as 30-year-old Gerald Brevard III, is a resident of the D.C. metro area who struggled with mental illness and often slept on the street, his father and aunt told Gothamist on Tuesday.

“He is a good person and like many across the world, he suffers from mental illness,” the suspect’s father, Gerald Brevard Jr., said in a statement shared with Gothamist. “The bigger picture is not that he has mental illness, but the number of times that he’s been within the judicial system and how the system has failed regarding the treatment of so many, including my son.”

Law enforcement officials said that Brevard III was charged on Tuesday with the shooting of three homeless people, one of whom was pronounced dead, in Washington D.C. earlier this month. The shootings occurred between March 3rd and March 9th.

During a press conference Tuesday, NYPD officials said their detectives were working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to bring charges against the same person for the shooting of two homeless men in Lower Manhattan this past Saturday.

The gunman, who does not have a known connection to New York City, is believed to have arrived at Penn Station shortly after 3:00 a.m. on Saturday. He is accused of shooting a man sleeping in SoHo in the forearm at 4:30 a.m., then fleeing after the victim pretended to call the police.

Less than two hours later, the same suspect is believed to have fired five shots at another homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police used ballistic evidence to identify the shooter, as well as “multiple tips that were very instrumental” to the arrest, Chief of Department James Essig said on Tuesday. The connection between the D.C. and New York City attacks was first noticed by a detective with the Metropolitan Police Department, who previously lived in Queens and followed the NYPD on social media, he added.

It remains unclear what brought the alleged shooter to New York City. Records show Brevard was arrested several times in the past, including for felony assault and several misdemeanors, though never in the New York area.

The suspect’s aunt, Sheila Brevard, said she was surprised to learn of her nephew’s arrest on Tuesday.

“We are really in the dark, we don’t know what took place or what type of evidence. All we see is his face on TV,” she told Gothamist. “We give our condolences to those families.”

The spree of shootings come amid a stark increase in the killing of homeless people in recent years, both locally and across the country.

In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams touted the coordinated effort between D.C., New York and the federal government that brought a “cold-blooded killer to justice.”

“Gun violence against anyone, let alone our most vulnerable populations, is sick, but thanks to the coordination between different levels of law enforcement and the public’s help, those experiencing homelessness can breathe a sigh of relief today,” he said.

This story has been updated with additional information.