Dead suspect may be linked to 'honeybee' shootings

Photo: Gary Amaya

December 14, 2010 4:36:51 AM PST
A robbery suspect killed in the south suburbs over the weekend may have a link to a deadly summer shooting spree.

Investigators are reportedly looking into whether he may have been the gunman who killed one man and wounded two others in the so-called "honeybee" shootings in Will County and Northwest Indiana.

Police say 48-year-old Gary Amaya tried to rob an L.A. Tan in Orland Park Saturday night. He ordered one customer to tie up a worker with rope. A male customer who entered a few minutes later grabbed the man's gun and fatally shot him.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Amaya's 38-caliber gun is a match for the weapon used in the series of shootings along the Illinois/Indiana border this fall.

Kristina Garza's 19-year-old nephew Joshua was shot and seriously wounded in that shooting spree in October near south suburban Beecher. His co-worker Rolando Alonso did not survive. Hours later, a farmer in Indiana was targeted.

Relief rushed in when prosecutors brought charges against a Lynwood Police officer. Days later, an alibi forced prosecutors to recant their case. It's that uncertainty that has victims of the "honeybee" killer uncertain of what to make of this latest news.

"As far as I'm aware, ballistics work confirmed that but that obviously would conclusively show it was the same weapon, but do we have the same shooter behind the weapon is where I am leaning," said Kristina Garza.

One hundred miles south of Chicago, investigators are searching Amaya's Rankin, Illinois home for more evidence that may link him to other crimes.

"It's me or him, absolutely, 100-percent. I thought I would never see my family again," said car salesman Jason McDaniel who shot and killed Amaya.

McDaniel went to tan and turned into a hero. He says he offered Amaya money from his wallet and told him of his 15-month-old daughter. He says Amaya told him he didn't care about the cash or the child. That's when McDaniel went for the gun, got ahold of it, and fired.

"He wasn't wearing a mask. That's a bad sign. He wasn't there for money, I don't think, and that's what scared me," said McDaniel.

A spokesperson for the Will County Sheriff's Department says investigators hope to have more to say about any evidence that connects these crime scenes on Tuesday.


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