Brooklyn pols want better cop presence following third killing
Cops say they're combing the city for the serial killer targeting Brooklyn mom and pop stores as owners, particularly ones of Middle Eastern descent, grow more fearful with the gunman on the loose.
Besides the fact the shooter used .22 caliber bullets in all three shootings, including Friday's night murder of of Vahidipour Rahmatollah, 78, at his Flatbush clothing store "She-She," police haven't revealed any other clues as to what's driving the fugitive's deadly spree.
Nearby business owners have been on edge, calling up officials and keeping a closer eye on who enters their stores.
"I don't know why he was shot but it's troubling," said Skeeadef Strekcane, the manager of a pizzeria next door to She-She. "Things happen all the time and you just got to be prepared for it."
The suspect, who's only described as black man in sunglasses, allegedly shot Rahmattolah three times behind the counter, dragged his body out and covered it with clothes.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said the gun used Friday was the same one used in two other homicides on July 6 and Aug. 2.
In the first incident, thegunman allegedly walked into clothing store at 7718 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge, killed Mohamed Gebeli, 65. Less than a month later, police say he killed Isaac Kadare at a 99 cents store in Bensonhurst.
It was unknown whether the suspect robbed the victims or burglarized their businesses, but all the victims are of Middle Eastern descent, according to police. Members of that community say they fear the suspect has them in their sights when he commits the crimes.
"It's a very scary thing. I'm Middle Eastern, the whole block is," Flatbush business owner David Elmann told WNBC/4. "We're more on edge today."
The NYPD said they are looking into whether the fugitive seeks out Middle Eastern owners and it is "diligently" investigating the crime. They also refused to comment on speculation that the killer targets businesses that have the number 8 in their address.
Elected officials in the area, however, say the cops need all the help they can get.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, Sen. Eric Adams and Sen. Kevin Parker rallied Sunday, calling for city, state and federal level task force that would combine resources to help profile and catch the killer as soon as possible.
"We certainly need additional police on the ground and better policing strategies, but they cannot do it alone," Williams said in a statement.
The NYPD and FBI declined to comment about the politicians' proposal.