NYPD searches video for clues in slayings

Detectives probing the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn shop owners, killed with the same gun, between July 6 and Nov. 16 want to talk with four individuals captured on video Friday near the latest homicide. The four are not considered suspects at this time. Handout.

NYPD detectives are scouring a grainy video to see whether it will help them identify the person who killed a 78-year-old Great Neck man at his Brooklyn apparel store on Friday, according to a law enforcement source.

Police in Brooklyn have found four images of people in the area of the store when Rahmatollah Vahidipour, an emigrant from Iran who has been in the United States for more than 20 years, was shot three times in his boutique.

Police have already determined that three of those on the surveillance video had nothing to do with the homicide.

But the fourth, whom they are calling "John Doe Duffle Bag" based on what he was carrying, was picked up on the surveillance cameras twice near the store and is being sought for questioning. Still, he is not a suspect at this time, said an NYPD official.

While there was no video camera in Vahidipour's She-She boutique in Flatbush, where Vahidipour was shot, an image of another man was obtained by a camera nearby and is undergoing analysis, said the source, who didn't want to be identified.

"We are asking anyone who was a customer in that store on Friday to come forward," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday.

NYPD officials have asked the FBI to assign a profiler to the case, which for the moment is viewed by detectives as a crime that is part of a pattern of Brooklyn store holdups and killings in which the same .22-caliber handgun has been used, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. He said if further information warranted it, the case might be considered that of a serial killer.

Vahidipour's daughter Yasmin, also an emigrant from Iran and living in Great Neck, said her father was killed as he was closing up shop. She said his credit card and personal telephone diary were taken, but not money.

"Why did they need his phone book, which is [in] Persian?" she said outside her father's home. "It's odd.

"Everyone loved him in this community," Yasmin Vahidipour said.

Her father left behind a wife, two other daughters and nine grandchildren, she said, adding that he had no known enemies.

Police said Vahidipour was found in the back of his store by a customer who didn't see him out front and went looking for him. Investigators suspect the killing took place between 4:30 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. Friday.

Two other store robberies and homicides this year in Brooklyn, all involving victims who were men of Middle Eastern ethnicity, are considered part of the pattern, Browne said.

With John Valenti

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday on social media

@Newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday