More than 20 detectives in the Police Department have been named to a task force to investigate a killing spree that has taken the lives of an Ozone Park deli customer, a laundromat employee in Bedford Stuyvesant and two Brooklyn deli workers.
Police believe the four early morning murders that have spanned the two boroughs were committed by the same men who have gunned down their victims but not robbed them.
Police also said the Feb. 1 shooting of Mohammed Alamgir, 38, who was killed at his grocery store at 153-52 Hillside Ave. in Jamaica, could also be linked to the spree of execution-style killings.
The Feb. 8 murder of John Freddy, 43, a customer at Central Mini Market deli at 76-20 Liberty Ave. in Ozone Park is so far the only Queens incident connected to the other three crimes, police said.
In the latest murder, Albert Kotlyar, 32, an employee at the Laundry King laundromat at 1392 Atlantic Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant was shot Monday morning in the face by two suspects believed to be part of a group of men targeting deli and store clerks, police said.
The two Brooklyn victims included Sukhjit Khajala, shot twice in the head Feb. 8 at his convenience store at 5803 Avenue N in Mill Basin, and Marc Zanichelli, shot in the head at the NAPA Auto Parts store March 1 at 263 Hendrix St. in East New York, police said.
There are several similarities that have led police to determine a connection among the crimes. All the victims were shot in the head or face and three of the four homicides have been linked to the same .40 caliber handgun, authorities said. The crimes all occurred early in the morning.
Police said the execution-style manner of the crimes led them to believe the same suspects are committing the crimes. Cops said in each case, the victims had little to no warning they were going to be shot and that shooting rather than robbing was the suspects' focus.
Police said that in more than one case, substantial amounts of money had been left behind in cash registers.
Authorities said they are offering $12,000 to anyone with information on the suspects or the crime pattern. Cops said the public should contact them by calling 1-800-577-TIPS.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2003 Community News Group
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