Reporting Steve Miller
UPDATED 12/14/10 5:17 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A downstate man suspected of being the “honeybee killer” apparently tried to kidnap a prostitute in Chicago just hours before he was killed with his own gun while trying to rob an Orland Park tanning salon over the weekend.
Gary Amaya, 48, tried to handcuff and tie up a prostitute Friday night in Chicago, but she escaped, leaving her purse behind in Amaya’s pickup truck, police sources said.
Amaya might have tried to shoot the woman as she was running away.
Police found the purse, along with handcuffs and rope, inside Amaya’s pickup truck after he was shot and killed by a customer, Jason McDaniel, while trying to rob L.A. Tan in the 15600 block of South 94th Avenue in Orland Park.
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Amaya also physically resembles the sketch of the killer that was released by police.
The Will County sheriff’s office would not officially confirm that information on Tuesday, and a spokeswoman said detectives are still working on the investigation.
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The “Honeybee Killer” shot at three construction workers near Beecher, Ill. killing one of them, and later shot and wounded a farmer in Lowell, Ind.
Orland Park is northwest of the Illinois-Indiana border area where an unknown gunman struck in the October attacks. Those drew national attention after the gunman asked one victim about honeybees.
Meanwhile, the man who shot Amaya is being called a hero. Jason McDaniel walked into the robbery in progress at the tanning salon and found one woman tied up. McDaniel says he tried to talk to Amaya, but he wouldn’t listen.
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The gunman told him, “You know what time it is.”
And McDaniel says he knew that meant somebody was going to die. That what was happening wasn’t just a robbery.
“Well, you know what was running through my head? All the negatives. No mask. Nobody wants to leave a witness after they see your face, of course,” McDaniel said. “What was running through my mind was how big that gun was. And he was holding the trigger. I was watching all that. And I said (to myself), as soon as I get the opportunity I have to do something or we’re all in trouble.”
McDaniel says he went for the gun when the gunman put it down for an instant.
And when McDaniel went home, “I cried. Cried and held my daughter.”
On Monday, investigators from Will County and from Lake County, Ind., searched Amaya’s home in the isolated, downstate hamlet of Rankin, Ill.
One of those injured in the October shootings hopes that Amaya was his attacker — because then he won’t have to worry that the gunman still is roaming free.
The “honeybee” gunman shot 64-year-old Indiana farmer Keith Dahl after first chatting with him about raising honeybees.
“Sure it would help, not just for me but for everybody,” said Dahl. “I think everybody worried about what could happen if this guy showed up again.”
Also Monday, Brian Dorian, the Lynwood police officer who was wrongly accused in the honeybee killings issued a posting on his Facebook page: “I have been praying every single night that they catch this guy since this first happened and for peace and closure to these poor victims.”
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