The search for a suspect in the recent deaths of three Brooklyn shopkeepers ended with the arrest of a 64-year-old clothing dealer whom New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly described as a "serial killer" intent on finding more victims.
The arrest of Salvatore Perrone of Staten Island "saved lives", Kelly said. "We know that he went to other locations and asked questions," the commissioner added, which "indicated that he may well be planning to come back".
After days of searching for a man recorded on surveillance video and nicknamed John Doe Duffel Bag by authorities, the police said they found Perrone when someone recognised him in a Bay Ridge pharmacy from images circulated in the media. He went voluntarily with the police on Tuesday.
Detectives found what they called the murder weapon, a sawed-off 22 calibre rifle with a flashlight held to the barrel by duct tape and pink rubber bands, in a closet at Perrone's girlfriend's home in Brooklyn, Kelly said. Ballistics tests matched the gun to shell casings found at each of three murder scenes, he said.
The gun was found in a duffel bag - the same bag they said Perrone was seen holding on the video - along with a box of bullets and a kitchen knife that Kelly said had dried blood on it. He did not say whether the blood was from any of the victims.
Kelly said that after the rifle was found and during hours of questioning, Perrone "made statements implicating himself".
Like the victims, Perrone worked in the retail industry. He was an independent salesman, dropping in on shops around Brooklyn to hawk his wares.