Larme Price


Larme Price

A.K.A.: "Sept. 11 Killer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: To avenge the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: February 8 - March 20, 2003
Date of arrest: March 29, 2003
Date of birth: 1972
Victims profile: John Freddy, 43 / Sujit (Sammny) Khajala, 50 / Albert Kotlyar, 32 / Mohammed Abdul Nasser Ali, 54 (shopkeepers immigrants)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Brooklyn and Queens, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on February 2004

Murderer Of Mill Basin Merchant, Others Pleads Guilty; Will Get Life

By Charles Rogers -

November 27, 2003

The man responsible for killing a Mill Basin mini-market owner and three other merchants during a killing spree last February and March has pleaded guilty and will go to jail for life.

According to Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for District Attorney Charles Hynes, Larme Price, 30, of Crown Heights, admitted last week in court that he was a "serial killer" who slew people who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent to avenge the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. Price originally faced the death penalty in two out of the four counts of murder for which he was arrested because they took place during the commission of a robbery.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last April — shortly after Price gave himself up at the 75th Precinct — that he had killed the shopkeepers, all immigrants, out of a hatred for Arabs. However, two of the victims were immigrants of Indian descent, one was from the Ukraine and the other was from Yemen.

The series of killings beg an on February 8 when John Freddy, a 43-year-old store owner was killed on a Sunday morning in his grocery in Ozone Park, Queens. Two hour later, Sujit (Sammny) Khajala, 50, owner of Around-The-Clock Mini Market at 5803 Avenue N was gunned down.

On March 10, Albert Kotlyar, 32, was killed in his laundromat in Bedford Stuyvesant. Ten days later, Mohammed Abdul Nasser Ali, 54, was shot and killed as he stood in the doorway to his store at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Buffalo Avenue. Ali’s cousin was also critically wounded at the time.

Schmetterer corroborated sources that said Price has a history of mental illness and arrests. He said as part of the deal struck with the D.A.’s office and Supreme Court Judge Neil Firetog, Price will get life without parole as his sentence, which will be formally pronounced in February.

Murder Indictment Is Presented Against Suspect in 4 Killings

By Robert F. Worth - The New York Times

Sunday, April 13, 2003

The man suspected of carrying out four unprovoked slayings of shopkeepers in Brooklyn and Queens earlier this year was indicted Friday on first-degree murder charges that specified the crime as a serial killing, the authorities said.

The suspect, Larme Price, 30, was arrested in Crown Heights on March 29 and confessed to the four killings, the police said.

Mr. Price was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder in the four killings, a crime for which he could face the death penalty, a spokesman for the district attorney's office in Brooklyn said.

Two charges are for murder committed during the course of a robbery, the spokesman said, and the third count charges Mr. Price as a serial killer. Serial killing is one of 12 categories under New York State's first-degree murder law, passed in 1995.

The indictment, which has yet to be filed, was announced on Friday in a hearing before Criminal Court Judge William Garnett in Brooklyn, and first reported yesterday in the New York Post. Mr. Price was not present at the hearing, and is expected to be arraigned in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn before the end of the month, officials said.

After that arraignment, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes must decide within 120 days whether to seek the death penalty.

Mr. Price is also facing other charges in connection with the killings, including multiple counts of second-degree murder, officials said.

A call to the state's capital defender's office, which is representing Mr. Price, was not returned yesterday.

Mr. Price shot his victims in the head, the police have said, usually without demanding money. The first two slayings took place on Feb. 8, and a task force of 20 detectives was soon formed to track down the killer. The last killing took place on March 20, when the police say Mr. Price fatally shot one employee and seriously wounded another at a food market less than a block from Mr. Price's home in Crown Heights.

After confessing on March 29 to the four slayings, investigators said, Mr. Price told them he was motivated by a desire to kill people of Middle Eastern descent after the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Only one of the four victims, all foreign-born men, was from the Middle East, but Mr. Price apparently believed that they all were, the police said.

Mr. Price, who has a record of arrests for robbery, burglary, and other crimes, also told investigators he had been taking PCP, a drug that can induce paranoia and delusions. His mother, Leatha Price, told reporters after his arrest that her son had a history of mental problems as well as drug abuse.

'Vibes Made Man Kill... and Confess, Police Say

By Shaila K. Dewan - The New York Times

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

For Larme Price, the man who the police say has confessed to four unprovoked killings in Brooklyn and Queens, life was increasingly controlled by vibes.

There were the bad vibes, investigators said, that told him whom to shoot dead. There were the cars on the street whose vibrations told him where to go. But there were also, the police said he told them, the good vibes. He felt them when he presented himself on Friday night at the 77th Precinct station house and met Tony Viggiani.

Detective Viggiani, Mr. Price apparently told the police later, seemed like someone he could trust. Someone who could help him.

And that, said Lt. John Cornicello, a key member of the task force searching for the man initially known as the Saturday Shooter, was what led to a highly unusual confession that came not in an interrogation room, in front of a video camera, but over a cellphone, from a man walking free, if tearfully, on the streets of Crown Heights.

''In all the intensity of these situations, it always ends up sounding like the guy came in and gave himself up,'' Lieutenant Cornicello said. ''But he would have walked out and continued doing what he was doing if he wasn't treated in a certain way.''

Yesterday, Mr. Price was arraigned on six counts of murder and one of attempted murder. He was ordered held without bail under a suicide watch. The police believe that he killed four people, but that two of the killings were committed during robberies, warranting the extra murder counts.

On Friday, Mr. Price did walk out of the precinct house, after telling Detective Viggiani and Detective Jeannie Valentin, members of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad, that the person behind the shooting was a man called ''Dog.''

He left behind his cellphone number -- and two detectives with a hunch that there was no such person as ''Dog.''

The next day, Detective Viggiani called Mr. Price, asking for more help. That is when Mr. Price broke down, saying, ''I'm the guy you're looking for,'' according to Lieutenant Cornicello.

Detective Viggiani, who is also a hostage negotiator, kept Mr. Price on the line for at least 10 minutes, while he and Detective Valentin jumped into a car and sped to meet him in front of his parents' apartment on Eastern Parkway.

The investigators soon had Mr. Price talking about why he had killed four shopkeepers, all immigrants, since Feb. 8, Lieutenant Cornicello said. There had been much speculation over the gunman's motivation: Did he hate people he perceived as foreigners? Was his blood lust, investigators mused, the result of all-night drug binges?

On Sunday, the police said that Mr. Price had claimed he wanted to kill Arabs in revenge for the Sept. 11 attacks. But only one of the men he shot was of Middle Eastern origin.

''As much as he says he had something against Middle Eastern people, he actually -- he hated everybody,'' Lieutenant Cornicello said. ''He expressed feelings against a lot of different people during this interview,'' he said, adding, ''He felt he was patriotic. He was a patriotic killer. He wanted to enlist in the Army.''

Lieutenant Cornicello said Mr. Price did not seem to have planned his killings. ''He went in to buy a pack of gum, and he got 'bad vibes.' He mentioned that he was in several stores that he got bad vibes, but he didn't have the gun. He would go back but the store would be closed, or he wouldn't be able to get in.''

Mr. Price also told the police that he had been using PCP, a powerful narcotic whose effects include delusions, paranoia and, sometimes, a feeling of invincibility.

Detectives believe they also solved the mystery of how Mr. Price had traveled from Crown Heights to Ozone Park to Mill Basin to Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhoods where the slayings took place: They found a baseball cap, the one the suspect had been wearing in surveillance video tapes, in the trunk of his father's Lexus.

They were still trying yesterday to tie up one loose end. They were looking for the .40-caliber pistol used in three of the shootings, which they said Mr. Price claimed to have sold.

On Sunday, Mr. Price's mother, Leatha Price, told reporters that her son had a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, and that Sept. 11 had been particularly hard on him. She said she had tried to get him medical help, but hospitals had released him.

Hospital records show that Mr. Price was treated at Kings County Hospital Center on Oct. 6, 2001, and at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center on March 9, 2003. On March 10, the police say, he fatally shot Albert Kotlyar, who was working the night shift at the Laundry King Superstore in Bedford-Stuyvesant, because he felt that the man had disrespected him.

People who know Mr. Price, who has a record of arrests for burglary, robbery and assault going back to 1989, said that his inability to support his children was a source of pain and embarrassment for him, but that he did not talk about his problems.

''Maybe whatever demons that were in his head, making him kill, maybe he tried to get away from them by turning himself in,'' said Prince Cooper, 27, who said he had grown up in Crown Heights with Mr. Price. ''Maybe that way he knew he could get help.''



By Charles Rogers -

April 3, 2003

A man allegedly responsible for the murders of at least four shopkeepers and referred to by police and others as a "thrill killer," surrendered at the 75 Precinct stationhouse last weekend, police said.

Larme Price, 30, of Crown Heights, admitted to the vicious killing spree after he at first told detectives that a man referred to as "Dog" was the killer responsible for the execution-style slayings, one of which took place on Avenue N in Mill Basin. After further interrogation, however, Price admitted he was the man responsible, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who held a press conference after the suspect gave up.

A spokesman for Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said Price was arraigned on Monday and remanded without bail, facing six counts of murder, two of which could result in the death penalty because they took place during the commission of a robbery.

The police commissioner said Price walked into the East New York stationhouse on Friday and told detectives they should look for a man named "Dog" and offered to help them track him down. But after the detectives noticed Price had certain characteristics that would indicate he was the suspect, including a peculiar pigeon-toed walk, he broke down on Sunday, saying he had been acting on "urges."

Kelly said Price had apparently killed the shopkeepers — all immigrants — out of a hatred for Arabs after the World Trade Center tragedy. However, two of the murder victims were immigrants of Indian descent, one was from the Ukraine and another was from Yemen.

The series of killings began on February 8 when John Freddy, a 43-year-old store owner was killed on a Saturday morning in his grocery in Ozone Park, Queens. Two hours later, Sukjit (Sammy) Khajala, 50, a store owner of the Around-the-Clock Mini-Market at 5803 Avenue N, was gunned down. On March 10, Albert Kotlyar, 32, was killed in his laundromat in Bedford Stuyvesant and then, ten days later, Mohammed Abdul Nasser Ali, 54, was shot and killed at about 10:30 a.m. as he stood in the doorway to his store at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Buffalo Avenue. His cousin, Yakoob Abdul Aldailam, 22 who was behind the counter, was critically wounded.

In his press conference, Commissioner Kelly said, "One man’s twisted view led to the murder of four innocent people. This department will not tolerate crimes against immigrants or crimes born of bias."

The district attorney’s spokesman said Price is also being charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of attempted murder.

'Sept. 11 Killer' Charged in New York

Monday, March 31, 2003

NEW YORK — A man with a history of mental problems was charged Monday with killing four immigrants since February, including three apparent victims of misplaced rage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The victims were shot at point-blank range without provocation in convenience stores and an all-night laundry. Police say his main motivation was exacting revenge for the terrorist attacks.

Larme Price told a detective that he shot three victims -- one Guyanese, one Indian and one Yemeni -- because he believed each was of Middle Eastern descent, a criminal complaint said. He said he shot a Russian-born man because he "felt bad vibes" about him, the complaint added.

Price, 30, was ordered held without bail following his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He was placed on suicide watch at the request of his attorney, John Youngblood.

"Our first concern is for Mr. Price's physical well-being," Youngblood told reporters.

The defendant's relatives refused to comment as they left the courthouse.

The killings began on Feb. 8 with the shooting of John Freddy, 40, a Guyana native drinking coffee at a Queens convenience store as he waited to go to work at a supermarket across the street. A surveillance camera showed a man in a dark coat, baseball cap and hooded sweat shirt shooting Freddy behind the ear.

About two hours later at a Brooklyn store, Indian immigrant Sukhjit Khajala, 50, was fatally shot in the face with the same .40-caliber revolver used in Freddy's killing, authorities said. Police said $169 was taken from the cash register by a man who shot Khajala after a brief conversation, then walked away slowly.

Russian-born laundry manager Albert Kotlyar, 32, was killed March 10. Ten days later, Mohammed Ali Nassir, 54, was shot and killed while sitting near the door of the Stop II Food Market. Another employee was wounded.

Police said Larme, who has two children and a pregnant girlfriend, apparently began having second thoughts about the shootings after reading the Sixth Commandment in the Bible: "Thou shall not kill."

Price's mother, Leatha Price, told reporters that her son struggled with drug abuse and had mental problems that were exacerbated by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She said she tried unsuccessfully to have him admitted to Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn.

Woodhull records reportedly show that he was treated at the hospital's Non-Urgent Care Center on March 9 and was released.

Police said they matched a pistol recovered from the home of Price's girlfriend to the shooting of Nassir. They also recovered a baseball cap, hooded sweat shirt and jacket they believe Price wore during the shootings.

Police Arrest Brooklyn Man In Slayings of 4 Shopkeepers

By Robert F. Worth - The New York Times

Monday, March 31, 2003

The police have arrested a Brooklyn man who they believe has shot and killed four shopkeepers without provocation in Brooklyn and Queens since early last month, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced last night.

The suspect, Larme Price, 30, confessed on Saturday to the four slayings, which terrorized residents and small-business owners and had been described as the work of a serial killer, the police said. Mr. Price said he was motivated by a desire to kill people of Middle Eastern descent after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Kelly said at a news conference at police headquarters.

Only one of the four victims, all foreign-born men, was from the Middle East, but Mr. Price was apparently under the impression that they all were, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Price, the police say, shot the four victims in the head, usually without demanding money. He will be prosecuted first by the district attorney's office in Brooklyn, where three of the killings took place, Mr. Kelly said. A law enforcement official said charges would include multiple counts of first-degree murder, a crime that could be punishable by death. He will also face two counts of attempted murder, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Price drew attention to himself when he walked into the 77th Precinct station house on Friday night and offered to help the police find the killer, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Price told investigators the killer went by the nickname ''Dog'' and ''appeared eager to help the investigation,'' Mr. Kelly noted. The investigators quickly became suspicious of Mr. Price, whose walk and appearance, they say, resembled that of the killer. They did not have enough evidence to detain him. But the next day, speaking to investigators on a cellphone, Mr. Price broke down and confessed to the killings, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Price said he was confessing because he had been reading the Bible, particularly the commandment ''Thou shalt not kill,'' Mr. Kelly said, and because he was concerned about his two daughters.

The police said Mr. Price did not appear to have been involved in a fifth fatal shooting that took place at an auto parts store in East New York, Brooklyn, on March 1. Members of the task force assigned to the case had believed that killing was carried out by the same man.

Mr. Price told the police that he killed one of his victims, a Russian-born man who worked at an all-night coin laundry in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, because Mr. Price felt disrespected when the man told him he could not sit in the store unless he was doing laundry there, Mr. Kelly said.

Asked about Mr. Price's statement that he wanted to kill people of Middle Eastern descent, Mr. Kelly said, ''I believe it fits the definition of a bias crime.''

But Mr. Price's mother, Leatha Price, said yesterday that her son's anger at Middle Easterners was a matter of mental illness, not ethnic hatred.

Speaking at the door of her apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Ms. Price said her son had a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, and that as recently as three weeks ago she had tried unsuccessfully to have him admitted to Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn because he appeared to be mentally unbalanced. She said her son ranted wildly, claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency was after him and that the hospital had put a tracking device in his hand.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, ''he walked around scared all the time, he couldn't sit still,'' Ms. Price said. At one point he said, ''I'm going to join the war,'' she added. After the most recent trip to the hospital, he was scared to come out of the car, saying, '' 'They're following me, Ma, they're following me,' '' she said.

''We kept trying to get help for him, but they kept letting him go,'' Ms. Price said.

The police are investigating the possibility that Mr. Price is mentally ill, Mr. Kelly said.

The police have also detained a man who was with Mr. Price during the first killing, at a food market in Ozone Park, Queens, on Feb. 8, Mr. Kelly said. That man, whose name was not released, is being considered a witness. Mr. Price was alone during all the other shootings.

In addition to Mr. Price's confession, there is ample evidence linking Mr. Price to all four killings, Mr. Kelly said. Investigators have recovered the 9-millimeter Intertech handgun that they say was used in the most recent killing, on March 20, at the Stop I Food Market in Crown Heights. They said they had also found a distinctive hat, gloves and other clothing that could be seen on surveillance videotape taken at the scenes of other killings.

The gun and clothing were found at the home of Mr. Price's girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child, Mr. Kelly said. She is not the mother of Mr. Price's two other children, who have different mothers, Mr. Kelly added.

Mr. Price discarded the .40-caliber handgun he used in the first three killings because he was out of ammunition and knew that the police were looking for it, Mr. Kelly said. That gun has not been recovered.

Mr. Price, who is unemployed, has eight prior arrests dating back to 1989, on charges including robbery, assault, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon, Mr. Kelly said. In the past, he has sold textbooks, which the police believe were stolen, on the street near the campuses of New York City colleges, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Price lives at 1225 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Mr. Kelly said. The building is less than a block from the Stop I Food Market, where a Yemeni immigrant was shot and killed on March 20. Several residents in the building said yesterday that Mr. Price had often shopped there.

After that shooting, the police say, Mr. Price also shot Yakoob Aldailam, 21, an employee at the market, three times, seriously wounding him. Like many others in the neighborhood, Mr. Aldailam, who is still recovering at the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, was relieved to hear the news that someone had confessed in the string of deadly shootings, his family said.

''Before, when I went to see my nephew, he would tell me, 'Hold my hand, stay with me,' '' said Adel Aldailam, Mr. Aldailam's uncle, whose family owns the Stop I Food Market. ''But now my nephew is very happy. He is relieved a lot. Now he is going to be O.K.''