NEW YORK — "This is the Zodiac."
Those words, in a childlike scrawl, became the trademark greeting of a killer who filled the New York summer of 1990 with dread.
Now, after years of silence, the Zodiac killer may be back.
In 1990, the Zodiac vowed to kill one person for each of the 12 astrological signs. Stalking a neighborhood that straddles Queens and Brooklyn, he shot to death four men of four different signs, then abruptly quit.
This week, the New York Post got a similar note from someone claiming to be the Zodiac, and detectives are trying to determine if the letter writer is the killer or a copycat.
The letter writer claims responsibility for five shootings that police said left at least two people dead between Aug. 10, 1992, and June 11 of this year. All of the attacks took place in the general area of the 1990 shootings.
Police confirmed four of the attacks, including the two slayings, but said some details of the attacks in the letter do not match up.
Handwriting experts were comparing the note to the taunting letters that were sent to the Post and left at crime scenes by the Zodiac in 1990.
Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli said Friday there was no solid evidence linking the two sprees.
The new letter, written in red ink, begins: "This is the Zodiac speaking here it is," then lists five attacks. The writer also taunts police. A scoreboard shows the NYPD with a score of 0 and a sketched sad face; below is the Zodiac sign--a circle with cross hairs--with a happy face and a score of 9, the number of claimed shootings dating to 1990. "Sleep my little dead how we loathe them," the writer added.
The latest attacks deviate from the Zodiac's precise routine in 1990: He always struck on a Thursday, and always at intervals of 21 days or a multiple of 21. His notes also contained the astrological signs of his victims. Police never figured out how the shooter discovered their birth dates.
The new letter does not mention the victims' signs, although of the three known, one was a Leo, one a Libra and one an Aries--all different from the previous victims.