The Latest: No bail for man charged with killing NYC imam

AP News
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Posted: Aug 16, 2016 3:37 PM
The Latest: No bail for man charged with killing NYC imam

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on the arrest in the killing of an imam and his friend as they left a New York City mosque (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The man accused of fatally shooting an imam and his friend as they left a New York City mosque is being held without bail.

Oscar Morel appeared in court at his arraignment Tuesday afternoon in Queens. He was handcuffed and wore leg shackles.

The 35-year-old's attorney says his client denies the allegations. Morel's family members declined to comment.

Prosecutors called the daytime shooting an "assassination." Investigators are still trying to determine a motive. They have not ruled out that it could have been a hate crime.

Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee's and Thara Uddin's were killed as they were leaving a prayer service at a mosque on Saturday.

More than a dozen members of the victims' mosque attended the court proceeding, including the imam's son and Uddin's brother.

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2:10 p.m.

Relatives of an imam and his friend who were gunned down near a New York City mosque are meeting with prosecutors.

Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee's son and Thara Uddin's brother were meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Queens district attorney's office while the defendant, Oscar Morel of Brooklyn, awaited a court appearance.

Akonjee and Uddin were killed while leaving a prayer service Saturday.

Saif Akonjee says he wants to know why his father was killed. Mashuk Uddin says he believes it was a hate crime.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown says it's possible investigators will conclude that the shooting was a hate crime. But he says regardless, the killings will be "vigorously prosecuted."

It wasn't immediately clear if Morel had an attorney. A motive for the killing remains unclear.

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1:15 p.m.

A prosecutor says the motive for a shooting that claimed the lives of a New York City imam and his friend is still being investigated.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Tuesday that it's possible investigators will conclude that the weekend shooting was a hate crime. But he says regardless of whether that's the case, the killings will be "vigorously prosecuted."

Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin were shot in the head Saturday afternoon as they walked home from the mosque.

The suspect, Oscar Morel, was awaiting a court appearance Tuesday on first- and second-degree murder charges. There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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2 a.m.

A man suspected of gunning down an imam and his friend as they left a New York City mosque has been arrested and charged with murder, as police investigate a motive for the killings.

Police charged 35-year-old Oscar Morel with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon late Monday.

He's accused in the Saturday slayings of Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin near a mosque in Queens.

Officers took Morel into custody late Sunday outside a Brooklyn apartment as he approached a vehicle that police had linked to an unrelated hit-and-run and that matched the description of the shooting suspect's getaway vehicle. That's when police say Morel intentionally rammed his vehicle into an unmarked police cruiser.

It's unclear if Morel has an attorney.