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Sketch released of suspect in killing of NY imam

People gather for a demonstration Saturday Aug. 13 2016 in the Queens borough of New York near a crime scene after the leader of a New York City mosque and an associate were fatally shot as they left afternoon prayers. Poli

The investigation is now ongoing.

Officers have released a sketch of the man they believe was behind the attack, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward.

Witnesses saw the man take off after executing the two men and police are looking for surveillance video showing the suspect. "At this time, a motive has not been determined, and we are now conducting an extensive canvass of the area for video and additional witnesses". One possibility was that of a botched robbery, because Akonjee was carrying nearly $1,000.

According to the Daily News, dozens of Muslim men crowded around the scene of the murder, and many of them seemed to conclude the incident had been a hate crime.

"We want justice!", a crowd of more than 100 chanted Saturday night.

The shootings sparked fear among the community's Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants.

A NY imam and his assistant were gunned down in broad daylight Saturday after prayers at a nearby mosque, police said.

"I understand the anger. But it's very important to mount a thorough investigation". They have not yet released a motive for the crime, but say preliminary evidence does not suggest the men were targeted because they were Muslim.

According to the AP, a leader of another local mosque who attended that conference made it clear he thinks this attack was a hate crime directed toward Muslims, saying, "Read my lips: This is a hate crime".

CAIR said Uddin was an associate of Akonjee.

"The perpetrator of these senseless killings must be swiftly apprehended and face the full force of the law", said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher.

Ambassador Bernicat in a separate message said Imam Akonjee was a respected community leader.

"There is a very loud cry, too, for the NYPD to investigate fully, with the total amount of their resources, the incident that happened today".

Neighbours gathered where the two men lived, just blocks from where they were killed in a Queens neighbourhood as police continued searching Sunday for the suspect. "If you ever see him walking down the street, you would see the peace that's coming with him", said Rahi Majid, Akonjee's nephew. As the culprit remained uncaptured Sunday, Chowdhury decided it would be best to drive to prayer services.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was closely monitoring the shooting investigation, a spokesman for the mayor said in a statement, and assured the public "the NYPD will stop at nothing to ensure justice is served".

He said he warned fellow members to be careful while being on the streets, especially while wearing Muslim traditional clothes.