A Serial Killer Stalks Turkish Shopkeepers German Police Step Up Hunt for "Döner Kebab Killer"

He's murdered nine men since 2000, eight Turks and one Greek, with shots to the head, execution-style, in broad daylight. Police probing the country's most mysterious killing spree in recent memory have now come up with a profile of the attacker: a loner who likes guns and hates Turkish people. And he doesn't look like Hannibal Lecter.

The killing started in the southern city of Nuremberg in September 2000 when Enver S., 38, was gunned down in his flower delivery van with eight shots fired at point blank range.

The most recent murder happened on April 6 this year in the central city of Kassel where Halit Y., 21, was shot twice in the head in the Internet café he managed. Three people were in the café making phone calls at the time, but only reported hearing muffled bangs.

The killer in every case used a Czech-made 7.65 mm Ceska 83 pistol with a silencer -- making the weapon almost half a meter long -- and always fired through a bag. In some cases an additional gun was used, which may indicate he had an accomplice, police said.

But police are scratching their heads because they have found no connection between the victims, who seem to have been selected at random by a man driven by blind hatred of Turks. He's been dubbed "Döner Kebab Killer" in the German press.

Two of the victims worked in döner kebab shops, one was a tailor, one had a vegetable stall, another ran a kiosk. The Greek victim, a key cutter, may have died because he looked Turkish, police said.

A reward of €300,000 has been offered for information leading to his capture.

The killer has struck in different parts of the country, from Rostock on the north coast to Munich in the south. But the fact that three of his victims were killed in Nuremberg suggests that he either lives or works in that city, police said.

Police have dropped their hypothesis that he is a professional hitman and that drugs or money were involved. They have come up with a psychological profile suggesting he was motivated simply by hatred of Turkish people.

"Maybe he had an argument with a Turk, or a negative experience during a vacation in Turkey. Or a Turk took his wife away from him, or his job," Alexander Horn, head of the Operational Case Analysis department of the Munich police, told reporters.

"We're not looking for a lunatic. One shouldn't picture the perpetrator as Hannibal Lecter from 'Silence of the Lambs.' Once such perpetrators have been caught one usually says: that nice neighbor, I would never have imagined him doing something like that."

Police say he probably lives or works in Nuremberg but has a job that takes him around the country. He could be a travelling salesman, a truck driver, a courier, or a removal man. He is experienced with guns and may belong to a gun club.

Police can't explain why he took a two-and-a-half year break between killing his fourth and fifth victims, from August 2001 until February 2004.

"We don't have any hot leads," said Wolfgang Geier, head of the Nuremberg police's "Bosporus" task force investigating the killings -- not a reassuring statement for the thousands of businessmen of Turkish descent working in Germany.

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