The suspect used the same .22-caliber gun and targeted the victims as they were closing for the night in each of the shootings, including Friday’s murder of a boutique owner in the borough’s Flatbush section, sources said. All three stores had the number 8 in their addresses — a link cops are now investigating.
“We’re definitely looking into the number-8 angle,” a law-enforcement source told the newspaper. “But we’re not any closer to solving the case because of it.” The killer appears to be targeting men who are Middle Eastern, one law-enforcement source said.
The latest victim, Vahidipour Rahmatollah, 78, was found in the back of She She Boutique with two gunshot wounds to the head and one to the torso, sources said. Rahmatollah was shot behind the counter and dragged into the back of the store, where the killer covered his face with clothes, sources added.
The killings began on July 6, with the second killing on Aug. 2. Cash was stolen in the first two killings, but nothing was taken in the most recent incident. The shooter appears to be well-trained, sources said.
“He could be some guy who has really done his homework. He may have read up on how to do this,” a law-enforcement source said. “Professionals sometimes use .22s, which make less noise and, because it has less firepower, it does a lot of internal damage.”
Shop owner Mohamed Gebeli was killed inside Valentino Fashion in Bay Ridge on July 6, and Isaac Kadare was found dead at his Amazing 99 Cents Deal shop in Bensonhurst on Aug. 2. Police have not determined a motive in any of the killings.