New York has had to bounce back from a lot of tragedy, including the recent devastation that Hurricane Sandy left behind. But when news gets out that the city has an unknown killer lurking in their midst, it's difficult for even the most hardened New Yorker to wrap their mind around.
Police are now searching for a man they believe is responsible for the shooting deaths of three shopkeepers, which began in July with 65-year old Mohammed Gebeli and left off with 78-year old Vahidipour Rahmatollah last Friday. 59-year old Isaac Kadare was shot in the head in his 99 cent store in August. As more and more evidence points to the murders having been committed by the same person, a motive has so far eluded investigators. While they have acknowledged that each shooting has similar characteristics, officials don't want to erupt the city into panic by dubbing the killings the work of a serial killer.
"The same gun was used in all three murders...it's too soon to tell," Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. "There are similar things in each case, but that determination hasn't been made yet."
Each victim was covered up and moved away from the windows of their respective stores, possibly to buy more time for the killer. However, there are factors in each murder which don't seem to add up to serial killer: one victim was stabbed in the neck as well as being shot in the head; two of the victims were robbed, while police say they aren't sure yet if Rahmatollah was missing money from the cash register. Those inconsistencies could add up to a break in the case. For now, investigators have released a sketch of a suspect they found on surveillance cameras, saying he is a person of interest and that they would like to talk to him.
So far, the most unlikely clue seems to be the fact that each store address contained the number 8; police say they are treating it the same as any other piece of the puzzle.
“We’re definitely looking into the number-8 angle,” a law-enforcement source said. “But we’re not any closer to solving the case because of it.”