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Man charged with murder in shooting deaths of Queens imam, his associate

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OZONE PARK, Queens -- Police have charged an East New York man with murder in the execution-style deaths of a Queens imam and his associate following services at an Ozone Park mosque Saturday afternoon.

Oscar Morel, 35, is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Graphic surveillance video shows the gunman approaching Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, then shooting them in broad daylight.

The victims were wearing religious attire, but police have not commented on whether the shooting was a hate crime. They are continuing to investigate the motive.

A gun recovered from a suspect's home during a search warrant is believed to have been used to kill an imam and his associate as they left a mosque in Queens on Aug. 14, 2016. (NYPD)

A gun recovered from a suspect's home during a search warrant is believed to have been used to kill an imam and his associate as they left a mosque in Queens on Aug. 14, 2016. (NYPD)

Morel was taken into custody late Sunday on charges after an alleged hit-and-run with a bicyclist 10 minutes after Saturday's shooting. NYPD spotted a vehicle matching a description of the getaway car wanted in connection with the killings. They said Morel tried to flee but crashed into an NYPD car and was taken into custody for questioning.

Earlier Monday, police recovered a revolver from Morel's home, along with clothing similar to that being worn in a surveillance video that shows the gunman.

Thousands of family, friends, community members gathered to pay their respects to the two men. Mayor Bill de Blasio was also in attendance to show his support for the Muslim community.

PIX11's Myles Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.