Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Sketch of suspect in Imam Shooting released

Published:Monday | August 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A police vehicle is parked across the street from the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque, yesterday, in the Ozone Park section of the Queens borough of New York. The leader of the mosque, Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and an associate, Tharam Uddin, 64, were fatally shot as they left afternoon prayers Saturday. (AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)


New York City police released a sketch early yesterday of the suspect they say fatally shot the leader of a mosque and a friend as they left afternoon prayers on Saturday.

According to police, Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, were both shot in the back of the head at the corner of Liberty Avenue and 79th Street in Queens.

Surveillance video appeared to show a man, wearing shorts and a dark polo shirt, approaching them from behind before fleeing with a gun. Police released a sketch of a dark-haired, bearded man wearing glasses. Police said witnesses described the shooter as a man with a medium complexion.

No arrests had been made by early yesterday.

"There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," said Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the New York Police Department.

But The Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference near the shooting scene on Saturday, where Kobir Chowdhury, a leader at another local mosque, said, "Read my lips: This is a hate crime directed at Islam. We are peace-loving," The Associated Press reported.

Police said Akonjee was carrying more than $1,000 when he and Uddin were shot, but that the money was not taken, the New York Times reported.