Homicide detectives in Rishon Lezion investigating a deadly shooting linked a suspect to the murder through bullets lodged in an injured dog.

On May 23, Uzi Levi, a resident of Rishon Lezion’s Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood, was shot dead at the entrance to his caravan home with a nine millimeter handgun. There were no eyewitnesses or available forensic evidence for police to work with.

A special investigations team formed by the Shfela police subdistrict focused on a suspect named Shmuel Atias, who had been involved in a dispute with Levi, but was unable to locate him for nearly a week as he had fled the area.

Atias, who has a criminal record involving drugs, violent offenses and property crimes, turned himself in to police five days after the murder, but denied any connection to the shooting.

Police then employed an agent to sit with the suspect in a holding cell. The two spoke for four days, according to the indictment, and Atias allegedly confessed to the shooting, as well as providing details on the dispute that led up to it.

During the conversations with the undercover agent, Atias allegedly mentioned shooting the victim’s dog that had run up to the scene after Levi was shot. This revelation surprised among the homicide detectives, who were unaware of the dog’s involvement.

Police located the animal and had it undergo surgery, during which bullets were indeed found and removed from its body.

Prosecutors charged Atias with murder on Sunday at the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court.

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