Fear as another motorbike killer stalks Paris suburbs
Two weeks after the 'scooter assassin' Mohamed Merah died in a shootout with police in Toulouse, another serial killer who rides a motorcycle may be at large in the Paris suburbs.
A 47-year-old woman was shot in the head on Thursday, bringing to four the number of people killed with the same revolver within a six-mile area since November.
In all the cases, the gunman was seen escaping on a motorbike.
Investigators, however, believe the first murder was committed by a different person, using the same gun.
Only the second, third and fourth murders -- in which random victims were shot in the head at close range -- appear to have been carried out by the same man.
The later series of three murders began in February before Merah (23) launched his shooting spree in south-west France, killing seven people in Montauban and Toulouse before he was shot himself by marksmen. The possibility of a copycat killer has been excluded.
Authorities have also ruled out theories that a radical Islamist or other terrorist may be responsible.
More than 100 detectives have been assigned to the case. Every motorbike in the southern suburbs of the French capital is being checked.
A local state prosecutor, Marie-Suzanne Le QuEau, said yesterday that the methods used in the killings were "not identical".
"In the first incident, the victim (a woman of 37) received multiple shots to her body. In the other three, death was due to shots in the head," she said.
In December, a 46-year-old minor criminal confessed to the first of the murders.
He said he shot the victim, named as Nathalie D, in the stairwell of her apartment block at Juvisy-sur-Orge in the Essonne area after she broke off their relationship. He later retracted his confession but remained in custody while investigations continued.
On February 22, a 51-year-old man was shot in the underground car park of the same building with the same gun.
The same gun was used again on March 17 to shoot an 81-year-old man in the hallway of his apartment block in Ris-Orangis, a few kilometres away. (©Independent News Service).