An imam and his assistant were fatally shot in Ozone Park area of New York at 1.50 pm (local time) on Saturday. The police said the attack took place after the imam, 55-year-old Maulama Akonjee, and Thara Uddin, 64, left the the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid, CNN reported. No arrests have been made in connection with their deaths yet.

A police officer told BBC that the imam and his assistant were both shot in the head from behind. Footage from surveillance cameras show the gunman leaving the scene with his weapon in hand. The police said the motive behind the killings was not clear yet. The New York Times reported that Akonjee was carrying more than $1,000 but that the money was not stolen. Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner told Reuters that investigators had not yet found anything to conclude that the men were killed because of their faith.

Later, around 100 people gathered at the scene to mourn and protest the killing. The mosque caters to the Bangladeshi community in Ozone Park area of Queens borough. Members of the Bangladeshi Muslim community demanded that the killings be considered a hate crime.