A New Orleans police officer is a suspect in the murders of two out of 24 victims of a serial killer of mostly women prostitutes strangled and dumped naked in the New Orleans area over the past four years, authorities confirmed Saturday.
FBI agent Neil Gallagher would not say if Officer Victor Gant, who is still on the force at a desk job, is a suspect in the other 22 murders.
Gant is suspected of killing two women, including his girlfriend, who was found floating in a swamp near Interstate 55 northwest of the city in April, New Orleans Police Chief Richard Pennington said.
Gant’s attorney, John Reed, told the New Orleans Times Picayune that police officials’ careful statements show there is no evidence against his client. “If they had any clear reason to believe Victor Gant is involved, they would arrest him. They haven’t.”
Until late this week, the 24 killings had not been linked publicly. The FBI on Friday issued a plea for help in catching the person they say killed the victims before stripping them and dumping their bodies in New Orleans, neighboring Jefferson Parish and swamps farther west of the city.
“We’ll try to stop this murderer before another victim falls prey,” Gallagher said.
Authorities said the first six victims, including a 17-year-old, were abducted from Algiers, a part of the city on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
Most of the rest came from the Treme area, a poor neighborhood next to the historic French Quarter, they said.
The FBI Behavioral Science Unit is working on a psychological profile of the killer, and the FBI, New Orleans Police Department and the sheriff’s offices of Jefferson and St. John parishes are working on the case.
Patrols have been increased in areas where the victims were abducted and where the bodies were dumped.
One of the April victims was Gant’s girlfriend, Sharon Robinson, 28, a coin changer at Harrah’s Casino. Four victims have not been identified, police said.