Authorities: Suspect sought for fatal shooting of Imam in Newark
Authorities say a suspect is wanted for fatally shooting an Imam Wednesday in Newark.
Hassan Sharif was discovered in his car with multiple gunshot wounds, according to authorities. Police rushed him to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:21 p.m.
Religious leaders and activists gathered Wednesday night for an anti-violence peace rally on South Orange Avenue and Camden Street, the intersection where Masjid Muhammad Mosque is located. Sharif had been at the helm of the mosque for the last five years.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is leading the investigation. A motive for the shooting is currently unknown.
“It does not appear that the Imam was a victim of a bias crime or that this was related to terrorism,” said acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens Jr.
A Facebook post by Sharif on Aug. 8 indicates that the fatal shooting was not the first time he was approached by someone with a gun.
“This morning was a definite test, as I get out of my vehicle heading inside I was approached by an unwanted guest who thought it was a good idea to come behind me an put a gun to my head,” the post said.
Law enforcement officials say they have increased security at the mosque.
There is a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.