The man accused of killing a Queens imam and his friend has been identified by New York media as a Hispanic man carrying out an inter-ethnic feud.
Citing “police officials,” the New York Daily News said Monday that Oscar Morel, 35, was arrested Sunday night in the double killing.
According to the Daily News, Mr. Morel has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
“We believe because of the evidence we have acquired thus far that we strongly believe this is the individual,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a news conference Monday night, before the suspect was named.
Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 65, were shot in the head at close range Saturday in what the Daily News characterized, citing unnamed police officials, as “settling a petty neighborhood beef between Muslims and Hispanics.”
Mr. Akonjee was the widely-liked imam at the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood. He had moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh two years ago.
According to the Daily News, local Muslims weren’t buying the “parking dispute” theory but were calling the execution-style double murder a hate crime.
Misba Abdin, 47, called the parking dispute theory “totally gossip.”
Morel was identified by the New York Post as being from Brooklyn, which would seem to undermine a theory that the double killing was the escalation of a commonplace neighborhood parking dispute in Queens.