By Chris Francescani
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police have found a rifle and ammunition in a duffle bag belonging to a man being questioned in connection with the shooting deaths of three Middle Eastern shopkeepers in the past five months, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
The .22 caliber bullets are consistent with ballistics tests on the shell casings found at the scenes of all three murders, according to the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The bag also contained two knives, "one of which appeared to have blood on it," a pair of black gloves and women's stockings, the official said.
Police located and began interviewing the man - labeled "John Doe Duffel Bag" due to the bag he was seen carrying on a security video - on Tuesday. The man was spotted near the scene of the latest attack on November 16.
Early Wednesday morning, investigators discovered a Ruger 10-22 rifle with a sawed-off stock, or handle, and what was described as an "improvised combination laser/light attached to its barrel" in a duffel bag belonging to the man, whose identity has not been disclosed, the official said.
Police have determined by examining the shell casings left at the crime scenes that the same gun was used in all three murders - one took place in July, one in August and a third last Friday.
Investigators have yet to determine a clear motive for the attacks, which all occurred near closing time when the victims were alone in their shops.
Police officials have noted that all three victims were older men of Middle Eastern descent and that all three shop addresses contained the number "8" - which led one New York tabloid to dub the suspect the "Crazy 8 Killer." Continued...