Six Ramle youths aged 15 to 17 were arrested on Monday on suspicion of having shot and killed Ramle resident George Saado, 51, while he was walking his dog near his home. Police investigators said they were not ruling out a nationalist motivation for the murder.
After discussions with Central District Police Commander Bentzi Sao on Monday, investigators were still not able to come up with a motive for the assault. The suspects, who have denied the accusations, were remanded for an additional six days and a gag order was issued on the details of the case.
According to the details the court has allowed to be published, on the night of the murder Saado, a divorced father of five children, took his dog out for a walk near midnight in an open field only a few hundred meters from his home, something he did daily. Shots were heard in the area, and a passer-by saw Saado lying on the ground on Zayit Street, the main road in Ramle. The man called the Magen David Adom ambulance service and tried to help Saado, who managed to say that he had been shot by several youths after having an altercation with them. He also told the man that before they shot him, the youths said, “Be careful we don’t do to you what they are doing in Gaza.”
Saado’s dog, Ringo, was also killed. Saado -- a former IDF and Bezeq communications company employee -- apparently managed to walk a short distance before collapsing on the main road. An ambulance took Saado to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv, but he died of his wounds later that day.
Ramle police, headed by Superintendent Shlomi Sagi, immediately began combing the area for suspects, and eventually entered a neighborhood a short distance away, where they arrested six youths. Five of the suspects are high school students with no prior police records. A sixth suspect, who is known to the police, was placed under house arrest. All six denied being involved in the murder.
Police investigators asked Israel Security Agency officials to help with the investigation, in the belief that the motive for the murder may have been of a nationalist nature. Another possibility being investigated is that Saado was shot after rebuking the youths for possessing and brandishing one or more guns.
Saado’s family sat in mourning in Saado’s home on Monday and expressed shock over the incident. “My father did nothing bad to anyone,” Saado’s daughter, Nofar, said. “He was a good man who never fought with anyone. This past Shabbat he was happy to see his grandson, who recently began talking with him. Father was murdered simply because he was Jewish. There is no other explanation.”
A neighbor added, “We have warned people in the past about shooting coming from the nearby Arab neighborhood. This has been going on for years.”