Brooklyn Jews Gunned Down by Same Killer

Bullets Link Slayings of Immigrant Shopkeepers in Flatbush

By Michael Kaminer

Published November 19, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

New York police released a security video of a potential suspect in the killings of three Brooklyn shopkeepers, two of whom were Jews.

The video depicts a ‘person of interest’ in the murders, which investigators believe were carried out with the same .22-caliber weapon.

Police have dubbed the man ‘John Doe Duffle Bag.’ The FBI has also joined the probe.

Two of three Brooklyn shop owners gunned down in the last four months were observant Jewish immigrants from the Middle East, and police reportedly think the same killer is responsible for the slayings.

The latest victim of gunman dubbed “the .22 caliber killer” was found dead inside his Flatbush store on Friday evening. Rahmatolla Vahidipour, 78, “a devout Jew from Iran,” was planning to attend the bar mitzvah of one of his nine grandchildren on Saturday, the New York Daily News reported.

The gunman left what has become a calling card: Shell casings that police have matched to two other murders. The killings started July 6, when Mohammed Gebeli, an Egyptian-born Muslim, was slain inside Valentino Fashion, his Bay Ridge store. A second victim was shot to death August 2; Isaac Kadare, the 59-year-old owner of Bensonhurst’s Amazing 99 Cent Deals shop, also hailed from Egypt, but was an observant Jew, the News said.

The homicides have the borough’s shopkeepers on edge. “I hope he’s not targeting owners because they’re Jewish or from the Middle East because that’s becoming personal,” Israeli-born Norman Mann, who owns the Cool Wear clothing store on Flatbush Ave., told the News. “That’s becoming hate. It’s not a normal holdup.”

Fernando Mateo of the Bodega Association of the U.S. told the newspaper his group would send out a sketch of the suspect. “The only members that we would be concerned about are the Middle Easterners,” he said. But Israeli-born shopowner Avi Zikry told the paper “it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Mediterranean, it’s a bad thing. I’m just being more aware of the door and make sure the cameras are working” at his store, BPY Collection.

Writing in the News, a forensic psychologist contended the slayings seem “more personal” than a hate crime. “The suspect could be a deranged individual who served in the military overseas and has a genuine hatred toward everyone from that region,” explained Dr. Naftali Berrill. “Or the killer has some sort of beef with these shopowners that we just don’t know about.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.