11 were shot in the head.
SAO PAULO -- A retired police sergeant is the main suspect in the murders of 13 homosexuals here in Brazil's largest city, authorities said Wednesday.
A total of 13 men were murdered between July 1997 and August of this year in Paturis Park, an extensive green area in Sao Paulo's Carapicuiba district that is frequented by gay men.
The suspect was already being investigated for two other killings in the neighboring municipality of Osasco, one of the victims being a transvestite and ballistics tests indicate that the weapon used in that crime could be the same one used in one of the Carapicuiba murders.
"It's a good clue which we need to investigate," Carapicuiba police chief Fernando Fortunato told reporters on Wednesday.
According to the chief, the suspect was arrested in October after the murder of a transvestite outside a hotel in Osasco because both men had checked in there and shared a room for several hours, but he had to be released for lack of evidence.
Police requested that the suspect be arrested, but the judge presiding over the case refused that request and only authorized a search of his residence, where no potential clues were found.
The suspicions surrounding the retired sergeant were reinforced by some of the men who frequent the park at night and said they had seen him several times in the area.
The press has dubbed the killer the "Rainbow Maniac," a reference to the colors of the flag of the movement to defend the rights of homosexuals.
Of the 13 victims, 11 were shot in the head, another one in the back and the last one was beaten to death.