A third shopkeeper of Middle Eastern descent was gunned down in the last 4 months, taunting NYC investigators to believe a serial killer or a violent armed robber is on the loose.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said nothing has been ruled out just yet in the mysterious Brooklyn killings of shopkeepers who are of Middle Eastern descent.
On Monday investigators were said to be searching for a person of interest, described to be a balding, middle-aged man seen wearing an overcoat and carrying a duffel bag after a shopkeeper was shot dead on Friday.
Rahmatollah Vahidipour, a Jewish man from Iran, was the latest NYC shopkeeper gunned down when he was shot three times in the head and chest at his “She She Boutique.”
“The possibility of a bias motive here is something that can’t be excluded,” Kelly said.
Investigators have discovered after balstic’s testing of .22-caliber gun shell casings found at the scene, that the gun used in the Friday shooting matches the same one used in two prior killings of shopkeepers over the past 4 months.
Egyptian immigrant and a Muslim, 65-year-old Mohamed Gebeli was found in the back of his shop, “Valentino Fashion Inc.,” shot to death on July 6th. Then Egyptian, 59-year-old Isaac Kadare, was shot in the head in his “Amazing 99 Cent Deal” store on August 6th.
Aside from the ballistics match on the shell casings from the bullets, investigators say there are other similarities in the slayings.
The bodies were all partially obscured by clothing or, in one case, a box. The shops all lacked surveillance cameras, and the owners were alone in the store. The locations of the shops form a triangle and are each about 4 miles apart, with addresses that contain the number eight. Money was taken from everyone but Vahidipour, 78, who had $171 in his pocket.
“We’re trying to put it together. We’re talking to the FBI; we’re doing an all-out effort to solve these murders,” Kelly said.