The police are holding a number of persons to help them in the investigations into the murder of car dealer Raymond Agius, 49, who was shot twice in the head at close range at the Butterfly Bar in Birkirkara on Thursday morning.

Soon after the murder took place, the police started speaking to acquaintances or people known to have had recent dealings with the victim. However, sources close to investigators said it was still early to say that the cold-blooded murder had been solved.

The police were holding four persons for questioning yesterday afternoon, police sources said.

The facts that the killer was in the bar only briefly, that no words were spoken and that the two assailants were wearing crash helmets with visors make identification somewhat more difficult, the sources said.

Meanwhile, an autopsy held yesterday morning at Mater Dei Hospital mortuary established that Mr Agius died of bullet wounds in his head. Two bullets were removed from his brain during the post mortem examination. The sources said another bullet was lifted by the police from the scene of the crime.

The victim's funeral was held yesterday afternoon after Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera, who is conducting the inquiry into the murder, authorised the burial.

Two men wearing crash helmets entered the bar at about 9.15 a.m. and one of them aimed a gun at Mr Agius, shooting him in the head. Acquaintances said Mr Agius used to call at the bar regularly.

The two attackers then fled the scene on the motorcycle, which was later found by the police near the old Birkirkara parish church not far away from the Butterfly Bar.

Mr Agius, a well-known businessman who was involved in the importation of household appliances apart from dealing in property, was accompanied by fellow car dealer John Giordmaina of Birkirkara when he was shot.

He was taken to hospital but died soon after. Mr Giordmaina was only slightly injured, having been hit by a flying splinter from one of the shots.

Police investigations are being conducted by Superintendent Neville Aquilina, Inspectors Silvio Valletta and Jeffrey Cilia from the Criminal Investigation Department and Inspector Kevin Farrugia from the Birkirkara District.

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