State witness in Barnoar shooting caught in Tel Aviv
Witness escaped his safe house on Thursday; in second interview with Channel 2 he said he left because he 'needed to clear his head.'
The state witness in the 2009 shooting at Tel Aviv's Barnoar LGBT youth center, who escaped from his safe house on Thursday morning was located by police in Tel Aviv on Saturday, and taken for questioning.
Israel Radio reported that the witness has spent the weekend in Haifa with a friend, and left the city before the police could locate him.
Earlier on Saturday, he gave a second interview to Channel 2, in which he promised to turn himself in if police pledged not to cancel their agreement with him. He said he had escaped the safe house because he needed "to clear his head."
"This situation is hard on me because I am really, really alone," he said, "and I don't see any support… from police." Asked why he didn't turn himself in, the state witness said that "the police said in the media that they want to cancel the deal."
Since his escape, a large-scale police manhunt for the state witness, who had gone missing in the morning hours of Thursday. The witness left the secret apartment he was staying in of his own volition without coordinating his moves with the police. Since his escape, there had been no contact with him, and the police are used all means at their disposal to locate him. Dozens of policemen searched for him. The Tel Aviv district police force added more manpower to join the search, and received aid from other districts in an attempt to find the witness.
The witness was supposed to be under round-the-clock protection by the police force’s central unit, backed by policemen from other special units. Due to the danger to his life which arose when his identity was disclosed in the online social media last week, it was decided to place him under the general witness protection program. After Channel 10 disclosed the location of his safe house, the suspect was moved to another secret location.
The witness' identity and photograph surfaced after he disappeared Thursday in an internal police email that was also sent to volunteers. This is contrary to standard procedures according to which the identities of state witnesses remain confidential, even within the police force. An announcement released Thursday stated that the state witness' life was in danger.