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New York Imam Shooting Suspect Arrested; Was It a Hit?

Image: New York Imam Shooting Suspect Arrested; Was It a Hit?

Oscar Morel in NYPD handcuffs. (Screengrab of WABC-TV video)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 09:11 AM

Oscar Morel, the suspect accused in the shooting deaths of a New York City imam and his friend, was arrested and charged with murder late Monday. One tabloid said officials theorized he was a hired hit man, another said cops found a gun.

Morel, 35, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon related to Saturday's daytime shooting in Queens, The Associated Press reported.

He was arrested after hitting a bicyclist with his SUV minutes after the shootings of Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, the AP said. Morel reportedly rammed his car into an unmarked police cruiser that was trying to block him in.

Akonjee and Uddin were shot in the head as they left a mosque. Police haven't released a motive, but are considering the possibility of a hate crime. Some Bangladeshi Muslim residents in the area have described anti-Muslim harassment.

The shooting occurred near the Al-Fuquan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, Fox News reported. A surveillance video shows a black GMC Trailblazer fleeing the scene.

Morel's brother, Alvin Morel, told the New York Post that his brother felt a temporary hatred of Muslims after 9/11 but that he now “definitely has no hate for the Muslims.”

“We’re Catholic-school kids — we don’t do this,” said Alvin Morel. “He’s a good guy.”

Oscar Morel told police that he was at the scene but denied shooting anyone. The NYPD found a revolver at his residence and believe he is the shooter, according to the Post.

Officials were investigating the possibility that Morel was hired as a hit man, the New York Daily News reported.

After the shooting, the suspect "became reckless," the Daily News reported, saying he "pursued and rammed" a cyclist after exchanging words near the intersection of Pine St. and Pitkin Ave. in East New York.

Morel’s landlord, Amado Baptista, told the Daily News that Morel moved in about seven months ago, had a girlfriend and worked cleaning a school.

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Oscar Morel, the suspect accused in the shooting deaths of a New York City imam and his friend, was arrested and charged with murder late Monday. One tabloid said officials theorized he was a hired hit man, another said cops found a gun.
new york, imam, shooting, suspect, arrested
339
2016-11-16
Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 09:11 AM
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