Zodiac Killer New York

It was the summer of 1990, 16 years after the Zodiac Killer’s final known written communication, and this time New Yorkers all throughout the country were paralyzed by fear.

A man going by the name of the Zodiac was allegedly shooting city dwellers in cycles of 21 days while claiming responsibility and showing uncanny parallels to the now-famous West Coast serial murderer.

Like his namesake from California, the New York murderer employed cyphers and riddles. He also provoked the police and the press.

Zodiac Killer

The horrifying tales from the late 1960s concerning the Zodiac’s taunting and torture were all too well known to the metro region and the rest of the nation by 1990.

The 1971 film Dirty Harry, which was partially based on the case, contributed to the killer’s nick moniker being part of popular culture. It was dreadful whenever the long-dormant murderer was mentioned or associated.

In California between 1968 and 1969, five killings had been identified as Zodiac victims, and the killer had claimed at least 37 additional victims in conversations with authorities and the media.

Zodiac made threats and rambled about how the people he killed would be his slaves in the afterlife while using puzzles and codes, some of which have yet to be deciphered.

The Zodiac claimed the lives of David Arthur Faraday, 17, Betty Lou Jensen, 16, Michael Renault, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22, Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Shepard, 22, as well as Paul Lee Stine, 29. All but Mr. Stin were in relationships.

The Zodiac Killer then appeared to disappear after writing one final letter to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1974.

His name didn’t surface until 16 years later, 3,000 miles away in New York, at an odd crime scene.

The Senior Citizens Robbery Unit’s commanding officer, NYPD Detective Michael Ciravolo, was reacting to the killing of Joseph Proce, an old man from Queens, who was shot in the back as he went by his home at around two in the morning on May 31, 1990.

He was rescued and sent to the hospital right away.

Det Ciravolo examined the site and noticed one startling piece of evidence the shooter had left behind.

This mysterious, unsettling note was there.

In Night Terror: New York Zodiac Killer, a recently released episode of the third season of the Netflix series Catching Killers, Det Ciravolo remarks, “At the top is a circle with three symbols.

The remainder of the note, which is read by the retired officer, states that “This is the Zodiac the twelve sign will die when the belts in the heaven are seen.”

The mystery and the terror were just getting started.

 Zodiac Killer New York
{pic credit Getty images}


The New York Police Department sent a note to their San Francisco counterparts, but they’d been idle for over two weeks.

There was no useful fingerprints or ballistics, as the Zodiac killer New York had used a makeshift and untraceable zip gun. Little useful information might also be offered by Mr. Proce, who was still in the hospital.

But Detective Ciravolo got a call from a detective in Brooklyn 18 days after the shooting: There is a note here, and it appears to be the note we found in the Proce scene a few weeks ago.

“There it was: ‘This is the Zodiac’ – another note,” Det. In the series, Ciravolo has this to say.

The letter had been sent to a reporter from the New York Post who forwarded it to the cops, and that handwriting was spot on.

There was also mention of the fact that the bullet would not have any grooves, which is a factual detail and “only something the shooter knows.”

“And then I noticed on May 31, ‘white old man with cane shoot in front of house,’” the detective says. This is Joe Proce, that’s right. But we don’t even know about the two other shots that preceded Joe Proce.

Officers searched through incident records after the gunman provided dates and times for earlier attacks and discovered two matches: Mario Orozco, who survived being shot in the back on March 8, 1990, and German Montenegro, who survived an attack on March 29, 1990.

The detective says, “We’ve come to the conclusion that his drawings on a pie slice correspond with three of the right astrological signs for those initial 3 victims.”

Orozco, Montenegro, Proce: he had Taurus, Scorpio, and Gemini. For the three, he’s been 3. I’m thinking, “There are 12 signs.” He has a plan, and he intends to carry it out. How can we get the guy before there’s anything else?

We brought the new note to our lab in hopes of finding latent fingerprints,” he said. Did we have any fingerprints on it? Answer, no.

Well, he must’ve been wearing gloves. I received a call from the San Francisco detectives at that point, telling us this was another copycat. It’s not our Zodiac. The handwriting doesn’t match it at all. “We didn’t benefit from that at all.”

Scratching their heads with little to go on – and keenly aware that, if their hunch was right, they were up detectives narrowed their search to the notes in order to beat the clock.

He’s been writing about Orion, the Seven Sisters, and belts in Heaven,” he said. “Well, this investigation had a portion that required thinking outside the box.”

The serial killer, who killed three people and tried to kill five more, was given a life sentence and won’t be able to get out until he becomes 264.

He stated to New York magazine in 2004 that he didn’t “actually know anything about astrology” in an article that mostly detailed his infatuation with another prisoner when they were both serving time for murder in Attica.

He also told the magazine that, if he’d been armed with weapons stronger than a zip gun, his body count might have been higher.

‘They’re fortunate,” Seda said, “that this wasn’t some kind of weapon. “If I could have an automatic, I’d shoot them 20 times.” That statement confirmed the detectives’ worst fears about the New York Zodiac killer, and the relief that they and the rest of the population felt when Seda was apprehended.

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