gun
The cop shooter's gun has been linked with at least five homicide cases in Alaska this year [Representational Image]Reuters

The police have linked the Alaska gunman who shot a cop multiple times on Monday to at least five different homicides in Anchorage this year. The Alaska police traced the shooter's gun to five similar cases in 2016, which have spread fear of a possible serial killer.

The gunman, James Dale Ritchie, was stopped by Anchorage police officer Arn Salao for stiffing a cabdriver, however Ritchie turned around and shot the officer multiple times, authorities said.

Officer Salao and Sgt. March Patzke shot back and Ritchie was killed at the spot, Police Chief Chris Tolley in a press briefing said. He also said that the officers were heroes. Reports state that Salao is recovering, he has been in and out of two emergency surgeries and is not out of intensive care, police said.

Tolley also said that after testing the bullets and the gun, it was found out that Ritchie's revolver was also used in two double homicides and one additional killing in Anchorage this year. The police said that all the bodies were found along the bike trails and the fifth victim's bicycle was stolen by the suspect.

The police said that some four other killings have been conducted in a similar manner, if the cases are serially connected then it amounts to nine possible homicide cases in total. The department said that investigations of the case were underway and that Ritchie has not been definitively linked with the earlier homicides yet.

The police, however, also added that Ritchie's driver license picture resembles the suspect's sketch the department had sent out earlier this year in connection with the homicides along the bike trail.

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