The son of one of the Newarkâs most respected Muslim leaders and an unidentified woman were killed in a âtargetedâ attack that left three other people injured on Tuesday, according to city police director Samuel DeMaio. (Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger)
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NEWARK — Two people were killed and three others were wounded when a gunman opened fire on a vehicle parked outside a Newark eatery Tuesday, police said.
The son of one of the city’s most respected Muslim leaders and an unidentified woman were killed in the "targeted" attack, according to Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio.
Akbar Muhammad, the oldest son of Imam Abdul Akbar Muhammad of Masjid Imam Ali K. Muslim Mosque in Newark, was sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle parked on Springfield Avenue when a gunman walked up to the vehicle and started shooting around 11:30 a.m., DeMaio said.
All five victims were inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting, DeMaio said.
Muhammad died at the scene, DeMaio said. He declined to identify the dead woman.
The wounded victims, including the owner of a nearby store, were listed in stable condition at University Hospital in Newark last night, DeMaio said.
While he called the attack "targeted," DeMaio said it was too early to tell who the shooter was aiming for or to discuss a motive.
"It’s a terrible thing, especially if you have only one person in that vehicle who is the target, and you have such a disregard for life that four other people are murdered or injured," DeMaio said.
Neighbors said they heard as many as 15 shots while walking near the intersection of Springfield and Fairmount avenues Tuesday. Several people, who identified themselves as relatives of the deceased, were sobbing in a parking lot near the crime scene, but they declined to comment on the shooting. Attempts to contact Muhammad’s family were unsuccessful.
Newark recorded 111 homicides in 2013, making it the city’s deadliest year since 1990, and Tuesday’s shooting sparked emotional reactions from several city leaders who saw it as a continuation of the crime surge.
"There’s a war in our city and the good guys are losing," said North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, one of four candidates running for mayor this year. "When street thugs can carry out a brazen attack in the middle of the day at a busy intersection in the heart of the Central Ward, it tells me that the city must immediately change direction from the status quo."
Muhammad was in his early 30s, and is survived by his parents and six siblings, said Amin Nath