The Latest: Motive in imam slaying still under investigation

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):

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.


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.