A man killed in a "gunfight" between police and criminals in Rajshahi's Godagari upazila early yesterday might have been involved in the rape and murder of a class-IV female student on Sunday, the law enforcers said.
The deceased was Md Shamim, 21, of the upazila's Baobari village, said Iftekhaer Alam, additional superintendent of police in the district.
The "gunfight" took place around 2:00am when a team from Kakonhat Police Investigation Centre was patrolling Lalitnagar area, said Iftekhaer, also spokesperson for the district police.
Sensing police presence, some criminals opened fire at the law enforcers prompting them to fire back, triggering the "gun battle", the police official added.
When the criminals fled, the police team found a body and locals confirmed that the deceased was Shamim.
Police also claimed to have recovered a pistol, one bullet, a magazine and a stolen mobile phone from the scene.
The police official said the mobile phone was stolen from the house of one of the neighbours of the girl, Sumaiya, 10, on the day of her rape and murder.
"As we found the stolen mobile phone in Shamin's possession, we are considering that he [Shamim] might have been linked with the girl's rape and murder," Iftekhaer said.
Police collected DNA samples from the deceased and sent those to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital for forensic tests, he said.
Sumaiya's body was found in a pile of straw on the roof of a neighbour house on Sunday morning.
Police investigation later revealed that she was raped and strangled sometime in the early hours of that day.
Her father Anwar Hossain, a mason, filed a case with Godagari Model Police Station against unnamed criminals in this connection.
Quoting locals, police said Shamim was involved in mobile theft for long and that he had recently injured a girl when he failed to rape her in the same village.
The incident was settled through arbitration, police said.