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Shooter who killed NJ imam still on the loose, $25K reward offered for arrest

The gunman who fatally shot a New Jersey imam on Wednesday remains at large, and law enforcement is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Imam Hassan Sharif shot many times The incident that shocked the local Muslim community occurred at around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Masjid Muhammad Newark Mosque at South Orange Avenue and Camden Street.

Sharif was taken to University Hospital, where he died shortly after 2:20 p.m., Robert Florida, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, told Fox News Digital.

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Imam Hassan Sharif, who was shot to death, and police outside the Newark mosque where the shooting occurred. The Essex County Sheriff's Office is offering a $25,000 reward for information about the shooter that leads to an arrest. (Masjid Muhammad Newark/Handout/Anadolu, via Getty Images | Lokman Vral Elibor/Anadolu, via Getty Images)

RLS media reported, citing local sources, that the imam was preparing to participate in Fajr prayers, the first of five daily Islamic prayers, when the attack occurred. A gunman approached him and opened fire. It is unclear whether anyone was inside the mosque at the time of the shooting.

The Essex County Sheriff's Department is now offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the shooting, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontura announced.

Fontoura did not provide a description of the suspect wanted for the murder.

Hassan Sharif

Imam Hassan Sharif speaks at an event at Masjid Muhammad in Newark in 2023. Mr Sharif was shot dead outside a mosque on Wednesday, shocking the local Muslim community.

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“We will investigate every lead to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Theodore Stephens.

The deadly shooting has shocked the local Muslim community, but authorities say they do not believe it was caused by bias or domestic terrorism.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, called for those responsible to appear.

newark mosque

A police vehicle is seen outside a mosque in Newark yesterday following the shooting death of Imam Hassan Sharif. (Lokman Vral Elibor/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“Imam Hassan was a beacon of leadership and excellence,” CAIR-NJ spokesperson Dina Saidamed said in a statement.

“We are devastated by the news of his murder. We are praying for the Imam, his family, loved ones, and his followers, and we ask you to do the same. ”

“While the perpetrator's motive remains unclear and unrelated to this particular incident, especially given the recent surge in anti-Muslim bigotry, it is important to note that while the perpetrators' motives remain unclear and are not related to this particular incident, we are encouraging all mosques to leave their doors open. We advise continued vigilance.”

sen corey booker

Sen. Cory Booker wrote on X Wednesday that he was “heartbroken” by Sharif's shooting death. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker (D.N.J.) wrote in X Wednesday that he was “heartbroken” by Sharif's shooting.

“We are closely monitoring the latest information as Newark City and County Police conduct the investigation. We look forward to speedy justice,” Booker wrote. “My thoughts are with the members of Masjid Muhammad and the entire New Jersey Muslim community.”

In addition to his work at the mosque, Sharif worked for many years as a traffic guard at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to the BBC.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office tip line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

FOX News' Luis Casiano contributed to this report.

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