Son of New Jersey imam shot outside Newark mosque among 3 arrested on gun charges as homicide probe continues

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The adult son of New Jersey Imam Hassan Sharif, who was shot and killed outside a Newark mosque earlier this month, and two other men have been arrested on gun charges, yet authorities stressed in making the announcement Monday that their investigation into the Muslim leader’s death remains ongoing. 

Abdush K. Sharif, 36, Kevin Rogers, 46, and Deshawn Kinchen, 49, have each been charged with fourth-degree violation of regulatory provisions relating to firearms, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday, according to NJ.com. The three individuals were arrested on Friday at a residence in Newark. 

While Sharif and Rogers are being held in Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing, Kinchen has since been released on a summons, jail records show. 

“The investigation into the homicide of Imam Hassan Sharif is active and ongoing,” the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement, according to NBC News. 

SHOOTER WHO KILLED NJ IMAM STILL ON THE LOOSE, $25K REWARD OFFERED FOR ARREST

NBC News previously reported that investigators were looking into whether a family member was connected to the imam’s killing, and sources have told the outlet that law enforcement was investigating whether specifically the imam’s son was involved in the crime. At this stage, no one has been charged in connection to the imam’s death. 

According to NJ.com, a man named Abdush Sharif was listed in the imam’s funeral program as his son. 

Court documents show the three men were arrested Friday during the execution of a search warrant at a home on Palm Street in Newark, according to NJ.com. 

An imam speaking at an event inside a mosque

The affidavits of probable cause note that police recovered a revolver during the search, and the defendants did not have legal ownership of the weapon. 

Remembered as a cleric and activist who protested against gun violence, Hassan Sharif, 52, was shot multiple times outside the Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque, located at South Orange Avenue and Camden Street in Newark, at approximately 6:15 a.m. on Jan. 3 around the time he was preparing for the Fajr prayer, the first of the five daily prayers in Islam. 

Newwark mosque shooting scene

NEW JERSEY IMAM SHOT, KILLED, OUTSIDE NEWARK MOSQUE, DA SAYS

Sharif, who also worked as a TSA agent at Newark Liberty International Airport, was pronounced dead at University Medical Center in Newark several hours later. 

While New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin has said the evidence collected thus far “does not indicate that the shooting was motivated by bias or terrorism,” he did acknowledge the imam’s killing comes at a time of heightened tensions amid the Israel-Hamas war and vowed to bolster security at religious institutions around the state. 

imam funeral in Newark

“In light of global events, and with a rise in bias directed at many communities across our state, but particularly the Muslim community, that there are many in New Jersey experiencing a heightened sense of fear or anxiety at the news of this slaying,” Platkin said in a statement on Jan. 10. “I want every resident of our state to know that we are bringing all our resources to bear to keep our Muslim friends and neighbors safe.” 

Essex County Crime Stoppers is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for fatally shooting the imam. 

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, later announced an additional $10,000 reward. 

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