Quantcast

Brooklyn man charged in murders of imam, assistant: NYPD

By Patrick Donachie

A 35-year-old Brooklyn man has been charged with murder in the execution-style killing of an Ozone Park imam and his assistant Saturday afternoon near their mosque in Ozone Park, police said.

Oscar Morel, of 276 Miller Ave., faces two counts of murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD said.

Police questioned Morel Monday after tracking his dated Chevy Trailblazer, which matched the description of the vehicle seen leaving the scene of the killings. He was charged late Monday.

Maulama Akonjee, 55, the imam of the Al-Furquan mosque on Glenmore Avenue, and his assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, were cut down by a lone gunman in broad daylight as they turned onto Liberty Avenue.

Police still have not determined a motive for the murders, according to news reports.

“We believe because of the evidence that this is the individual,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told a news conference Monday.

A revolver was found at Morel’s Brooklyn home that corresponded to the weapon used in the killings, the New York Post reported.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James were among the public officials and private citizens who gathered Monday at the Municipal Parking Field in Brooklyn across the Queens border from Ozone Park, which is home to a vibrant neighborhood populated by Bangladeshi immigrants and the mosque where the two victims served their community.

Cries of “We want justice” echoed throughout the service from the crowd of more than 1,000 mourners.

“People are not bad. Politics is making their mind bad,” said Laskar Farqu, a Jackson Heights resident who attended the funeral. “America is a great country. We came from far away to do good.”

Badrul Kham, founder and chief adviser of the Al-Furquan mosque, called the murders “a hate crime” before the funeral.

The Bangladeshi victims, dressed in tradition Muslim clothing, were both shot in the head by a gunman who approached them from behind, police said.

The police circulated a sketch of a man wearing glasses and described the suspect as an adult male with a medium complexion and a beard who was seen on a video wearing a dark-colored shirt and blue shorts.

“We want justice,” the mosque’s founder said hours before the call was repeated at the funeral. “We lost two innocent people.”

He added, “We don’t make any political statements.”

More from Around New York