Suspect confesses to New York Zodiac shootings

June 19, 1996
Web posted at: 12:15 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man who allegedly shot his sister and held police at bay for over three hours Tuesday has confessed to being New York's "Zodiac" killer, police told CNN Wednesday.

The so-called Zodiac killer terrorized New York City residents six years ago by selecting victims by their astrological sign and then sending taunting letters to the press.

Heriberto Seda arrested

Heriberto Seda, 26, surrendered to police Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn following more than three hours of negotiations in which he barricaded himself in his third-floor apartment and exchanged gunfire with officers.

At the time, police did not suspect him in the Zodiac shootings. However, they later found that his fingerprints matched fingerprints from two pieces of evidence linked to the Zodiac case.

Seda's letter of surrender to police Tuesday contained the first link to the Zodiac killer, police said. He signed off with a circle and cross, a symbol similar to those found on the alleged killer's letters.

Police believe that the New York Zodiac killer took his name from a never-captured killer in the San Francisco area, who took credit for 37 slayings before stopping in the 1970s.

The New York Zodiac killer shot four people in 1990 with different astrological signs, killing one. He wrote several notes to the New York Post taunting police for not catching him and vowed to kill one person born under each of the 12 signs.

But then, the shootings stopped. He may have resurfaced again in 1994, when someone claiming to be the Zodiac killer wrote a letter to the New York Post claiming five additional attacks since 1992.

Police said that Seda's fingerprints matched prints found on that letter; his fingerprints matched one other piece of evidence, but they would not say what it was.

swat team

Seda had previously been arrested on weapons charges in 1994. Police said that during his sniping spree Tuesday, he managed to pin four officers in a location with his gunfire until a police armored vehicle moved in to rescue them.

Before police got him to surrender, they lowered a bucket from the roof to his apartment, and ordered him to hand over any weapons in addition to the shotgun he had brandished. He filled the bucket three times, turning in 13 homemade zip guns, police said.

Two of his victims Tuesday were not seriously injured. The third, a 17-year-old girl police said is the shooter's sister, was in stable condition.


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