NYPD arrests suspect in imam's shooting

New York Police Department has a person in custody in connection with the weekend shooting deaths of a Queens imam and his assistant.

Ben Ariel,

Scene of Queens shooting
Scene of Queens shooting
Reuters

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has a person in custody in connection with the weekend shooting deaths of a Queens imam and his assistant in Ozone Park, but the person hasn’t been arrested or charged in the case, Newsday reported Monday, citing a law enforcement source.

The person being questioned about the shooting was taken into custody in connection with an “unrelated” incident, the source told the website.

Police on Sunday released a sketch of a suspect in the fatal execution-style shootings of Maulama Akonjee, 55, an imam at the al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque, and his assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, of Queens, according to Newsday.

The shootings took place Saturday in Ozone Park, two blocks from where the victims worshipped, as they were making their way back from prayers.

The gunman, who wore a dark polo shirt and shorts, was seen on surveillance video and by witnesses running from the scene with a gun, police said.

The NYPD sent out a police artist’s drawing Sunday depicting the shooter as a dark-haired man with a heavy stubble and thick but clear-rimmed eyeglasses.

Police are continuing to investigate the motive behind the shootings, but local Muslims have insisted the shooting was a hate crime.

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Monday the group was waiting for more information about the circumstances behind the killing, including whether it will be determined that it was a hate crime.

But he added that regardless of what is determined, “there is anxiety within the community nationwide and in New York about the toxic atmosphere against Muslims.”




top