On Saturday afternoon an Imam and his friend were shot and killed in Queens as they were walking home from their mosque.
A lone gunman was caught on video walking up behind the two about 2 pm, shooting both, then fleeing the scene. NYPD Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner said, “There is nothing in the preliminary investigation that would indicate that they were targeted because of their faith.”
According to the New York Post, the Imam, 55-year-old Maulana Akonjee, was walking with 64-year-old Thara Uddin when both were killed. The two men had just prayed at “Al Furqan Jame Masjid on 77th Street and Glenmore Avenue.”
Akonjee was originally from Bangladesh and one man who knew him described him as “the pope for [the] neighborhood.”
Mashuk Uddin saw his older brother lying on the ground after being shot. Mashuk said, “I don’t even know, nobody knows what’s going on. This broke my heart. I miss my big brother.”
One resident in the area heard the gunshots. The resident–who did not want to be identified–said there were “two shots, then more.” Afterward, the resident saw “a man with a gun running down the street.”
The resident said there were a number of other people around that could have been shot, but the gunman only killed Akonjee and Uddin.
Update: 10:45 ET
Photos of people rallying around slain imam in Queens:
UPDATE: A 2nd man has died after shooting outside New York City mosque https://t.co/DRoIJZqckB
— ABC News (@ABC) August 13, 2016
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 13, 2016
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 14, 2016
Update: 10:12 PM ET
A crowd of angry Muslim men at the scene believe it was a ‘hate crime. One man said they blame ‘Donald Trump for creating Islamophobia’
Update: 10:06 ET
I can't help but have a knot in my stomach after learning of the murder of an imam in Queens right after afternoon prayers. Heartbroken.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) August 13, 2016
Random Trump hate
Gunman executes Imam and assistant as they walk home from NYC mosque https://t.co/Qa50I08pve Did Trump incite this?
— Girl Futurist (@GirlFuturist) August 14, 2016
— TariAkpodiete (@TariAkpodiete) August 14, 2016
I agree with them…
Donald Trump is to blame…
With his Islamphobic hate talk. https://t.co/qeXuGEhJIH
— James Wall (@Jamesbwall2) August 14, 2016
Update: 9:58 ET
Headline from the New York Daily News:
A Lone gunman executed a revered Queens imam and his friend as the pair walked home from Saturday prayers, blasting each in the back of the head without a word, officials said.
“Queens imam and his assistant shot to death by gunman in attack local Muslims blame on Donald Trump: ‘His drama has created Islamophobia’
Said local resident Khairul Islam, 33. “That’s not what America is about… We blame Donald Trump for this . . . Trump and his drama has created Islamophobia.”
Update: Aug 13 9:54 ET
From New York Magazine:
The suspected killer was described by police and witnesses as a tall Hispanic man carrying a large handgun and wearing a dark blue polo shirt and shorts. Police reportedly have video footage of the suspect, and are looking for surveillance videos and additional witnesses.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.