$10K Reward Offered as Cops Hunt Killer
By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge – Bay Ridge business owners and residents expressed shock today at the murder of Mohamed Gebeli, 65, owner of Valentino Fashion on Fifth Avenue.
“This is terrible. He was such a nice man,” said Janet Gounis, who works in a Capital One Bank branch on Fifth Avenue and knew Gebeli as a customer. “He was always so calm and unhurried. Everyone liked him.”
On Saturday, July 7, the day after the murder, customers kept coming into Capital One to talk about Gebeli, Gounis said.
“People couldn’t believe that he was killed,” she said.
Police are searching for Gebeli’s killer, who shot the store owner to death inside his shop at 7718 Fifth Ave. on the night of July 6, a slaying that alarmed the normally safe community of Bay Ridge.
Gebeli was shot once in the neck, according to police, who said they have no suspects and no motive in the slaying.
Gebeli’s relatives went to the store at around 11:10 p.m. Friday night to look for him when he did not return to his 76th Street home after the store’s normal closing time at 7:30 p.m. When they arrived, they discovered Gebeli lying on the floor, unconscious. Police said they responded to a 911 call at 11:13 p.m. and arrived at the scene, where they determined that Gebeli had been shot once in the neck.
The victim was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center, but was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.
The shocking incident cast a dark cloud over an otherwise sunny weekend, filled with fun activities.
During one such event, the Bay Ridge Arab-American Bazaar in Shore Road Park on July 8, state Sen. Marty Golden announced that he was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the cold-blooded killer. A few hours later, it was learned that Habib Joudeh, owner of Pharmacy on Fifth, a drugstore at 6914 Fifth Ave., had agreed to match Golden’s reward offer. Joudeh is putting up an additional $5,000.
“Mr. Gebeli was killed Friday night in an incident that has destroyed a family and has shocked a community. I am announcing this $5,000 reward today so to encourage anyone who may know something to help solve this case to contact the authorities,” Golden said. “I thank local leader Habib Joudeh, of Pharmacy on Fifth, for matching the reward, which now stands at $10,000. Justice must be served in this case and we need the public’s help to see that happen. I trust that the New York City Police Department will continue to thoroughly investigate this murder and any leads available. My thoughts and prayers are with the Gebeli family.”
Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211.