Cornered and killed

By Yang Jinghao in Chongqing Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-15 1:25:03

Police collect the belongings of Zhou Kehua after the serial killer was gunned down Tuesday morning in Chongqing. Photo: CFP
Police collect the belongings of Zhou Kehua after the serial killer was gunned down Tuesday morning in Chongqing. Photo: CFP

Frenzied serial killer Zhou Kehua was shot dead by police in Chongqing Tuesday morning after a massive four-day manhunt. While local police celebrate the victory, many questions remain unanswered.

The wanted fugitive was shot four times at 6:50 am at Tongjiaqiao in Shapingba district, in the western part of the city, according to the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB).

Cash, two guns, and three ammunition cartridges including 62 bullets were found on Zhou.

DNA and fingerprint tests have confirmed the identity of Zhou, and checks on the guns and cartridge cases also showed that the guns were the ones used in the previous killings in Chongqing, Jiangsu and Hunan provinces, said the bureau.

The killer was spotted by plainclothes police Zhou Jin and Wang Xiaoyu as he was making a phone call at 6:40 am near Tongjiaqiao and was then followed.

"We were not 100 percent sure it was Zhou Kehua as he didn't use a cellphone according to the information in our possession," Zhou Jin told reporters afterwards.

Zhou Kehua suddenly turned around toward the two policemen and muttered something to himself when they followed him into an alley, said Zhou Jin.

"We were ready to draw our guns after sensing danger, then Zhou Kehua began to shoot at us," said Zhou Jin, adding that he hid himself behind a power pole and Wang stood against a wall.

Zhou Kehua fired three shots toward them, causing no injuries, and the two officers let off two rounds each to "annihilate him."

Nearby residents said they were not aware the noises were gunfire between the criminal and police when hearing the shots.

"I was cooking when the bangs came and I thought someone was setting off firecrackers," Wang Deqing, 54, told the Global Times.

"A vegetable vendor living nearby suddenly rushed in and shouted 'shut the doors quickly, here comes Zhou Kehua'," she said.

She said she saw the veteran killer lying in a pool of blood when she ran outside, "and his mouth was still twitching."

"He was neatly dressed and didn't look like a person hiding in caves as police earlier suspected," said Wang Deqing. She added that the corpse was removed about two hours later in a bag.

A flock of locals swarmed to the site when police barriers were lifted around 11 am. A local family even set off firecrackers to "illustrate the bang."

A majority of people felt relieved at the relatively late capture, while speculation also emerged that the tough murderer had killed himself at the last minute.

Zhou Jin told reporters that the specific parts where Zhou Kehua had been hit would be ascertained after an autopsy.

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Huang Wei, a deputy director of the Chongqing police, announced that the bureau would be cited with a first-class collective merit award by Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu. The director also said a citizen would be awarded 600,000 yuan ($94,380) for providing important clues.

However, no questions were taken during the approximately half-hour conference, leaving many issues unresolved.

"I think Zhou Kehua had an accompliance since he was reportedly talking to someone on a cellphone. I think the police should answer this as soon as possible, resolving questions regarding whom he was talking to and the content," a local taxi driver told the Global Times.

The armed robber has killed 10 people and injured six since 2004. The 10 murders were in Hunan, Jiangsu and Chongqing, and he gunned down innocent civilians and soldiers to take their cash or guns, according to Huang.

The final killings were a woman killed in front of a bank on August 10, whom Zhou robbed for 70,000 yuan, and  a railway police officer who attempted to question him as he escaped.

The whereabouts of all the stolen money remains a mystery.


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