NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In the wake of a third killing of a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, city and state officials have called for a task force to help track down the perpetrator.
Shopkeeper Validipour Rahmatollah, 78, was fatally shot Friday night at the She She Boutique, at 836 Flatbush Ave. in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn.
Police said the .22-caliber gun used in this killing was the same weapon used in the fatal shootings of two other merchants, CBS 2′s Dave Carlin reported.
The killings have been dubbed the ‘Number Murders’ because the addresses of the killing scenes all contain the number 8.
Police have downplayed the number link, telling CBS 2 they are working on other common links.
Those include all three men being of Middle Eastern descent, all working alone in stores with no video surveillance and the killer leaving each victim’s face covered with merchandise, Carlin reported.
On July 6, clothing-store owner Mohamed Gebeli was killed inside Valentino Fashion at 7718 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in both earlier instances, the victims’ bodies were covered with materials from the businesses – such as boxes, baking dishes and clothing.
State Senators Eric Adams and Kevin Parker, along with City Councilman Jumaane Williams called for the assistance of FBI profiling experts to track down whoever is responsible for these apparently linked killings, they announced on Sunday.
“We would like for them to do an informational campaign informing potential victims. And second, we want them to bring in the FBI profiling experts to help apprehend this person,” Adams told 1010 WINS.
Adams said the community is on edge and shopkeepers are worried about their safety with this killer on the loose.
“As I walked the area yesterday and spoke to several shop owners in the local bodegas, in the local stores, they are very afraid and they’re looking for information and we want to arm them with simple steps that they can take to protect themselves,” Adams told 1010 WINS.
A $22,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in all three homicides. Anyone with information is asked to call the Crimestoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS.