Police Arrest Brooklyn Man Accused of Killing Imam and Assistant Near Mosque
News| | By Lauren Boudreau
Tragedy struck Saturday afternoon when an imam and his assistant were shot outside a nearby mosque after prayers. Now, police believe they have the man responsible, according to CNN.
Brooklynite Oscar Morel was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. He was arrested on Sunday for the murders of imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin.
According to Gawker, a man walked up behind Akonjee and Uddin and shot them both in the head. Surveillance video shows the man then getting into a black Chevy TrailBlazer with the weapon. The TrailBlazer was seen again about ten minutes later involved in a hit-and-run. Officers were able to track the vehicle to Morel. The murder weapon and clothing used during the crime were found in Morel’s apartment during a search.
According to CNN, police said they have no reason to believe it was a hate crime.
“There is nothing in the preliminary investigation that would indicate they were targeted because of their faith,” New York police Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner told CNN.
Morel’s brother Alvin told the New York Post that his brother would never commit a crime like this.
“We’re Catholic-school kids — we don’t do this,” Alvin said. “He’s a good guy.”
While Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that they “strongly believe” Morel is responsible, they still aren’t positive.
“Right now, we can’t explain why this person was there. He was there just prior to (the shooting). We have him on video about eight minutes prior to the homicide,” Boyce said.