3 Shot Dead Near Columbia May Have Been Drug Dealer Robbers: Sources

They were found shot to death in a parked BMW Thursday afternoon

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    Police released video of a suspect in the shooting that left three people dead in a BMW near Columbia University. Police say this is the man seen leaving the car.

    The three men found shot dead inside a parked BMW near Columbia University may have been targeted because they robbed drug dealers, NBC 4 New York has learned.

    The three victims, 25, 26 and 30, were found inside a 2009 BMW parked near Claremont Avenue and West 122nd Street on Thursday evening, police said.

    Investigators have learned that the victims were known for robbing drug dealers, sources tell NBC 4 New York.

    Police on Friday released surveillance video they say shows the suspect in the shooting. Police tracked him leaving the car where the bodies where found.

    3 People Found Shot Dead Near Columbia Campus

    [NY] 3 People Found Shot Dead Near Columbia Campus
    Police say their bodies were found inside a luxury car parked near Columbia University.

    Two of the victims were found in the front seats of the car, and were shot in the head or neck; the third was found in the rear passenger seat and was shot in the left temple, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

    The BMW had a temporary registration and its license plates were reported stolen, Browne said. The vehicle had been parked for an hour when it was discovered.

    A passerby coming from Riverside Park noticed the bodies while walking past the car at about 6:30 p.m., a police official said. The passerby was able to flag down a patrol car.

    Columbia students were alerted to the incident in a campus-wide email and text alert.

    A Morningside Heights resident said she wasn't shaken by the incident because it was out of character for the neighborhood.

    "I definitely feel safe," said Jordan Steiner. "It just seems like a very random act in this area."

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