Family of boy slain in elevator files $281M lawsuit

EAST NEW YORK (WABC) -- The family of a little boy is suing the New York City Housing Authority for $281 million after he was fatally stabbed inside an elevator.

"My baby is gone, he's not coming back. Yeah, I blame housing in the city, I surely do," said Aricka McClinton, the victim's mother.

P.J. Avitto's mother says a $281 million lawsuit won't bring her boy back, but maybe it will save others.

The family claims shoddy security by the city's Housing Authority led to the 6-year-old's murder this past June in an elevator at the Boulevard Houses in East New York.

Paranoid schizophrenic Daniel St. Hubert had wandered into the building, stabbing P.J. and his best friend, 7-year-old Mikayla Capers, who incredibly, survived.

"Our baby didn't make it, Mikayla did. Whenever I see her spirit and everything, I say, 'You know what, P.J.'s spirit is in Mikayla.' She is the happiest little girl and she is doing really well," McClinton said.

The court papers blame NYCHA for sitting on millions of dollars for security cameras, for eliminating tenant safety patrols, and for persistently failing to fix broken doors.

"They permitted and allowed the front doors of 845 Schenck Avenue to be defective, to be unsafe, easily opened by intruders," said Jack Yankowitz, the family's attorney.

"As I was coming here today, they just fixed the door that had been broke for a week," said Nicolus Avitto, the victim's father.

"I hope and I pray every day that this never happens to anyone else's children, anyone else's mother, father, sister, aunt, nobody. I'm hoping that housing will get the message, you have to do better," McClinton said.

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