When the 8pm to 5am detective shift begins in a two-room office at the 109th Precinct station house in Flushing Queens a day’s worth of clues have already piled up – reports from astrologers, neighbors, patrolmen, parole officers and cranks.
It is 18 days since “Son of Sam,” the .44-caliber killer, fired four shots to wound his 10th and 11th victims, and on this particular evening six teams of detectives continue to search the city for him. They are especially anxious because July 29 is approaching, the first anniversary of his first murder. His toll so far is 5 dead, 6 wounded. “Everyone knows someone who looks good, looks like the composite,” complained Detective Ed Dahlem. “The problem is there have been four completely different composites since March. But you’ve got to check out each lead, each clue. You’d hate to let the right one pass you by.”
“Last night, said Detective Gerald Shevlin, we rushed over to the 108th Precinct because we heard some guy had shot his wife. He put 14 rounds into her. It was an incredible sight, but it wasn’t Sam.”
“Tonight maybe we’ll get lucky. It’s so frustrating after all these months. When I go home, I can’t sleep. I’m still chasing Sam. I dream of him. I’d give 30 days pay to get him tonight. I hope our luck is running.”
Excerpt from Howard Blum July 14, 1977 New York Times