WASHINGTON, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Three men. Three unsolved murders. One gun.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) says a serial killer may be targeting Middle Eastern men after three killings that appear to be related, the latest one last Friday.
Like the other murders, it happened in a Brooklyn store. And police say the same .22-caliber handgun was used in all three shootings.
Police stop short of saying they have a serial killer on the loose – more than one person could have fired the gun – but admit they’re working on the premise that it’s the same killer in all three cases.
"We're trying to put it together. We're talking to the FBI; we're doing an all-out effort to solve these murders," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told NBC News.
The most recent victim was 78-year-old Vahidipour Rahmatollah, who was shot three times in the head and torso inside his women’s clothing store. His body was dragged to the back of the store and covered with merchandise when it was found shortly after 7 p.m. EST on Friday.
The first victim was 65-year-old Mohammed Gebeli, who was shot in the head and stabbed in the neck at his clothing store in July.
A 59-year-old man, Isaac Kadare, was shot to death at his shop, Amazing 99 Cent Deal, in August.
All three crimes are eerily similar: The victims were all shopkeepers of Middle Eastern descent, over 50 years of age in Brooklyn. They were alone – in stores without security cameras – when they were killed. Their bodies were pulled out of sight and covered with store items.
“This guy does his homework,” one law enforcement official told the New York Times.
Moving and covering the bodies, “may have been done to give the killer more time” to make a getaway, said another.
The NYPD has asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a profiler who can analyze criminal behavior to help identify a suspect.
Investigators have also released photos and videos of four people who were seen in the area around the time of the latest murder. They are not believed to be suspects in the case, but authorities are hoping they have information that can help solve the crimes.
In the meantime, they warn shopkeepers not to work alone.