A 31-year-old actor who once had a part on ABC’s “Ugly Betty” was arrested early Monday morning after police responded to a 911 call to Brooklyn, New York, where a woman was heard screaming inside her apartment. The New York Daily News reported that when police arrived and made their way inside, they found Michael Brea had stabbed his 55-year-old mother to death with a samurai sword. But while police were barricaded outside the apartment door, neighbors reported that they could still hear sounds of the woman groaning as Brea screamed religious commands for her to “repent.”
New York City Police responded to a call to find actor Michael Brea behind a locked apartment door. Neighbors say police waited far too long to go inside and possibly save Yannick Brea, who was apparently being attacked by her son. Witnesses claim that they could hear Michael screaming at his mother, “Repent, repent, sinner, sinner,” over and over again.
Gregory Clare, a neighbor who lived below the Brea apartment, told the Daily News, “He was screaming, ‘You never accepted Jesus.’ It was real loud.”
Police found Yannick Brea kneeling with lacerations to her head in the bathroom of the apartment. Michael Brea was holding a three-foot samurai sword and mouthing what sounded like religious gibberish.
Clinton Clare, the owner of the building, said that he heard groaning from the inside — even after the police arrived. He estimated that police waited about an hour before they entered the apartment.
Neighbors said they encouraged police to go in. Clare noted that he gave police permission to break the door down. His son, Gregory, said that the police kept saying “protocol this and protocol that. Now a woman’s dead who should be alive if only the police would have listened.”
But NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that he believed officers followed procedure and handled the situation correctly.
“It’s a barricaded situation,” he said, “and that is handled by the Emergency Services Unit. What happens in a barricade situation is that responding patrol officers, if possible, wait for the Emergency Services forces to arrive.”
Neighbors said that the screams and shouts were first heard around 1:00 a.m. Police responded but then left. The situation worsened and police were called again to the apartment by a second 911 call.
Her screams woke me up,” one neighbor recalled. “Screams I’ll never forget. … I heard [Michael] rambling. He was incoherent.”
It is believed that Michael Brea got the samurai sword from a Mason lodge where he was a member. A low-level Mason, he was not given clearance to handle the sword and apparently took it Monday night after a meeting, Michael’s uncles later told the Daily News.
Witnesses noted that Michael Brea was still speaking gibberish when police delivered him out of the apartment on a gurney. He was taken to Kings County Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after his arrest.
Neighbors and family members who knew the aspiring actor said they couldn’t say what had caused him to behave as he did and attack his mother. They described him as a caring young man.
Yannick Brea was a 9/11 survivor who had worked at the Marriott Hotel in the World Trade Center at the time of the terrorist attacks. She was described as a hard-worker and was employed at a nearby hotel.
Killings perpetrated with samurai swords are exceptionally infrequent, and, when they occur, the incidents usually make national news. Oddly enough, another fatal incident involving a samurai sword occurred in Van Nuys, Calif., in June when Stephen Clancy Hill, a disgruntled porn actor, attacked a colleague with a stage prop. When two others rushed to aid the victim, they, too, were attacked. One of the rescuers received a fatal blow to the torso. Hill fled the scene and was cornered four days later, standing at a cliff’s edge and brandishing the sword, threatening to kill himself. When police moved in and used a taser, Hill ignored the voltage and jumped from the cliff, killing himself.
Matthew Lysiak, Sarah Armaghan, and Larry McShane, “Michael Brea killed mom with a sword, police say, neighbors say cops were slow to respond,” NYDailyNews.com