NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police in southern Florida say a New York rabbi was fatally shot during a robbery while on vacation.
But as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, the rabbi’s family believes it was a hate crime.
Northeast Miami-Dade County is home to a vibrant Orthodox Jewish community. That community was shattered Saturday after Joseph Raksin was gunned down while on his morning walk to temple.
“I talked a little bit to him. He gave me his name and that he was from New York. And he told me two males were the people that did this,” said witness Jean-Louis Denis.
Denis said he heard the gunshot and ran to help the 60-year-old. Raksin, of Crown Heights, was visiting his daughter and family in south Florida, Langford reported.
“I told him my name, I told him to stay quiet and that everything was going to be fine, and unfortunately it was different,” Denis said.
Miami-Dade Police said they are searching for two young suspects.
Raskin’s son-in-law, Leib Ezaguy, who is from south Florida, rushed back to Brooklyn after the shooting. He said many believe it was a hate crime, not a botched robbery attempt.
“They shot him and continued walking away just like that,” Ezaguy said. “There’s a lot of anti-Semitism going on in that community, especially what happened with the synagogue there a few days ago.”
The incident Ezaguy recalled was a swastika that was scrawled outside a nearby temple just days before the shooting.
Police in Miami, however, said there is no indication the shooting was a hate crime.
Back in Brooklyn, friends and family have come to the aid of Raksin’s wife. The Lubavitch community where the rabbi often worshiped is anxious to know why their friend was killed, Langford reported.
“Let’s hope they find the killer or killers and bring them to justice,” said Lubavitch congregant Yaakov Stern.
A memorial service was held Sunday night in honor of Raksin, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported. Raksin’s family said he will be buried at Montefiore Cemetery on Monday.
A $50,000 reward is being offered by the Orthadox community where Raksin was killed.
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