On Friday night, police responding to a 911 call discovered 78-year-old Vahidipour Rahmatollah unconscious on the floor of the She-She Boutique, the Prospect-Lefferts clothing store he ran for 22 years. Rahmatollah had been shot in the head with a .22-caliber pistol and died of his injuries. Having examined the shell casings found in the shop, the NYPD now believes that the gun that killed Rahmatollah was also used in the deaths of two other Brooklyn shopkeepers: 65-year-old Mohammed Gebeli, who was murdered in his Bay Ridge clothing store in July, and 59-year-old Isaac Kadare, who was shot in his Bensonhurst 99-cent store in August.
The cops say they are not sure whether the same person was responsible for all three of the murders and that they are exploring several links between the incidents. All three victims were found with their faces covered. All were originally from the Middle East (Gebeli and Kadare were Egyptian; Rahmatollah was Iranian), and the street addresses of their stores all included 7s, 8s, and 1s. Of course, all three were also older men who were working alone at the time of their deaths. Police say that money had been taken from Gebeli's store; it was not clear whether anything had been stolen from Rahmatollah or Kadare. A police sketch of a suspect — a 5-foot-9-inch-tall man in his twenties — was released following Kadare's murder, but no other images or leads have come out since. The NYPD is offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.