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Fate in the Stars - Zodiac Due to Strike

July 11, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ After three weeks of studying astrology charts and occult books, police hit the streets Wednesday to await the Zodiac gunman, who will strike after midnight if he follows his pattern of the past four months.

Twenty-one days ago, the letter-writing killer shot and wounded a sleeping homeless man in Central Park, leaving behind a note. It was the fourth time the Zodiac had struck; one of his victims died.

The shootings all followed a 21-day pattern: the first occurred March 8, followed by March 29, May 31 and June 21. The time between the second and third shootings was 63 days, a multiple of 21.

Each shooting has occurred early on a Thursday. The gunman has vowed in his letters to police and news media that he will shoot 12 people - one for each sign of the Zodiac.

While police were out looking for the gunman, some wary New Yorkers were staying inside. One census taker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid, said people were refusing to cooperate with him after police suggested Tuesday that the killer was getting people’s birth dates through census forms.

There are no questions about date of birth on the census, only about year of birth and age, said U.S. Census Bureau spokeswoman Deirdre Blackwood, who called police to complain about the comment.

If the pattern continues, police believe the shooter is likely to strike again sometime between 12:01 a.m. Thursday and dawn. A police task force of 50 detectives has chosen sites where the shooter is thought more likely to strike, and additional manpower will be out around the city.

Police refused to detail their plans or how the sites were chosen, but theories about the gunman abound. Investigators have probed the bizarre and offbeat in their efforts to anticipate the next strike by the Zodiac, who shot three people on the Brooklyn-Queens line and one in Central Park.

Detectives reportedly studied a turn-of-the-century book called ″The Law is For All,″ which contains a series of revelations from a deity named Aiwass.

The 21st revelation in the Aleister Crowley book reads, ″Nature’s way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way.″ Two of Zodiac’s victims - including the one who died - walked with canes; another was shot while drunk, and the fourth was wounded while sleeping.

Another hypothesis involved the gunman superimposing the constellation Orion over the city and shooting his victims to correspond with its stars. Orion is the hunter in mythology, and the Zodiac referred to himself as the hunter in a letter to police.

The gunman claims to be the same Zodiac who terrorized San Francisco during the late 1960s and early ’70s, kiling six people. Police doubt that, but think he may be getting his ideas from a 1986 book about the San Francisco attacks.

Despite his self-promotional ways, the Zodiac remains a mystery to police. Two sketches of the gunman, FBI psychological profiles and 1,800 phone tips have so far turned up nothing. Fifty potential suspects have all been cleared, police said.

Despite the research and increased police patrols, Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli acknowledges the best leads could come after the killer claims another victim.

″The more times an incident occurs, the better the chance of finding the individual,″ he said.

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