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Oakland violence: Mosque shaken after 2 members fatally shot following evening prayer

Latest Oakland violence hits home for city's Muslim community
Latest Oakland violence hits home for city's Muslim community 03:05

OAKLAND – Following a violent night in Oakland that included multiple shootings, the city's Muslim community is mourning the deaths of two members who were fatally shot near a mosque Monday night.

Two men were shot and killed, and a third was injured, in a shooting at 3100 block of Telegraph. Multiple people in a car shot at a group of people outside a cafe and the market next door, according to a spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department.

 "At this time, we are uncertain of the motive and we are investigating all possible leads," said Officer Kim Armstead.

The shooting took place around the corner from the Oakland Islamic Center, after the conclusion of the sunset prayer on Monday. There were around 60-70 people at the mosque for the gathering, ready to break their fast when the shots rang out.

A shooting on the 3100 block of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland on September 19, 2022 killed two members of the Oakland Islamic Center nearby, parishioners said. CBS

"All of a sudden, our lives have changed in an instant," said Hatim Nasser, the interpreter for the Oakland Islamic Center.

Nasser said the two men attended the prayer prior to the shooting. He described them as respectable men who became the latest victims of senseless gun violence in Oakland.

"Brother Belal ... was a very nice gentleman. Me and him did a pilgrimage to Mecca," he said. "He was very cheerful, a very happy individual, and very helpful to the community. He used to bring bread and flowers every Friday to give to the parishioners as they leave the mosque. And Asam was very nice, a gentle individual."

During a news conference on Tuesday, Oakland Police were asked if they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

"Right now, our homicide section is investigating all angles of this crime. This incident is obviously very tragic and shocking," said Deputy Chief James Beere. "We're taking nothing off the table. We're investigating every possible scenario that may have resulted in this violent crime."

Abdul Razak lives next door to where the shooting happened. He hopes nearby surveillance cameras will help police track down the people responsible.

"There are cameras. Find out who did this crime," he said. "There are cameras at the next stoplight."

Nasser and others in the community remain shaken and shocked.

"It touches all, this kind of senseless violence, it just doesn't make any sense for this to happen to innocent people," he said. "These two individuals were very nice, very respectable individuals, who were just caught in a very bad situation."

Layalina Café posted the following message to Instagram after the shooting:

"It is with deep sorrow that we say goodbye to two members of our community. We are beyond devastated, shocked, and still in disbelief that this happened not only our block but in our business and home that we open to everyone and anyone. This community is our family. And we love you all. To watch a brother pass in front of your eyes while simultaneously running for your life is inexplainable. Our hearts are heavy for our brothers who passed and their families. Our close friend and brother whom we respect and love so much whose son was shot but managed to get up and run for his life I have no words. We are so hurt by this but grateful he's alive. I'm only feeling a sense of solace that these men were able to pray before passing. Alhamdulilah. We thank all who have reached out and stood by us and the families. This is a tragic day in Oakland in our Muslim community. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and may Allah grant them the highest levels of Jannah (heaven) inshallah. Allah yarhammahum. Life is short! We need to be better and do better. This senseless violence MUST STOP!"

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