Possible Serial Killer Has Merchants on Edge


Storekeepers along Flatbush Avenue were on edge Tuesday as authorities continued searching for a possible serial killer who is suspected of gunning down three Middle Eastern Brooklyn merchants since summer.

“Everyone is more cautious and on alert, these killings are a scary thing for the whole neighborhood to have to deal with, not just Middle Easterners” said Tim Jones, 25, who works at a Foot Locker near the site of the most recent shooting. “It’s scary to think that it could be anyone at this point.”

The heightened fear follows the slaying of 78-year-old Rahmatollah Vahipidour, a Jewish man from Iran, who was killed in the She She Boutique on Flatbush Avenue Friday night.

Vahipidour is the latest Middle Eastern victim – and the third in four months – thought to be targeted because of ethnicity. The same .22-caliber gun used in the summer slayings of two Brooklyn shopkeepers was the identical weapon used again, cops said.

Investigators also were exploring the angle of a possible hate crime.

Police cautioned store owners and employees not to work alone and advised businesses to be on high alert, while recommending they clear any items blocking their windows so passersby can report on any suspicious activity.  But State Sen. Eric Adams, free run 4.0 v2 femmes a former New York City police officer, told reporters that New Yorkers should not panic but should stay informed.

“We don’t want the city to be engulfed in fear based on the actions of a potential serial killer who appears to be targeting men of Middle Eastern descent,” said Adams. “This person must be apprehended.”

The NYPD recruited FBI analysts who specialize in behavioral analysis to help with the case.

But the news of an increased force has not left Middle Eastern residents around Flatbush Avenue less than uneasy. They fear the killer’s actions, regardless of the motive, leave them vulnerable, especially at night.

“I’m doing everything I can to secure the safety of my store and all those around it,” said Andrew Shahiid, 26, a Brooklyn resident of Egyptian descent whose convenience store is located on Flatbush Avenue. “You can never be too careful, I want as much lighting as possible to keep employees safe inside and outside.”

Police are continuing their search for a “person of interest” whose sketch –described as a 5-foot-5 black man, 140 pounds – was released Tuesday. The man was allegedly heard by a witness talking on his phone about killing someone near Vahidipour’s store Friday evening, nearly two hours before the storekeeper’s body was found.

“I don’t care what they have to do, I just hope they do it and do it quickly,” said John Paul, 28, who also works at a shop on Flatbush Avenue. “We’re all nervous, we just want to stay safe until the person is caught and brought to jail. Who knows what the motive is, we’re all frightened.”

Rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides were offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crimes.

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