OZONE PARK, Queens — A man who gunned down a Queens Imam and his aide was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Oscar Morel, 37, shot Imam Maulana Akonjee and Thara Uddin as they walked home from a prayer service in August 2016. Akonjee died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso. Uddin died from a gunshot wound to the head.
“The cowardly actions of this defendant did not just take the life of two admired men, but the killings ripped at the heart of the Muslim community – our community,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “It is my hope that today’s conclusion to this case brings some closure and comfort to the many family and friends of the victims.”
Morel was taken into custody after an alleged hit-and-run with a bicyclist 12 minutes after the shooting. A man who witnessed the incident drove after Morel to get the license number for police. Officers later found the gun used to kill Akonjee and Uddin hidden behind a kitchen wall in Morel’s Brooklyn apartment.
The murders impact the Queens community to this day, Borough President Melinda Katz said.
“The two men were fathers devoted to their faith, their families and the community, and their murder shook the community and instilled fear through its core,” Katz said.