(JTA) — Joseph Raksin, a 60-year-old Orthodox rabbi, was shot and killed on his way to synagogue in North Miami Beach on Saturday morning.
Police are searching for two suspects said to be young males.
Raksin, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., reportedly was in town visiting his granddaughter and other relatives. He was walking to the synagogue, Bais Menachem, when he was confronted by the two males.
Police said Raksin was shot several times following an altercation, though witnesses told NBC reporters that there was no altercation and that the assailants were African-American males. Raksin was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.
They said the shooting likely was a robbery gone bad.
“At this time there is no indication of this being a hate crime,” Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald.
A nearby synagogue, Torah V’Emunah, was the target of vandalism on July 28, with swastikas and the word “Hamas” spray-painted on the front pillars.
In a statement on the shooting, Hava Holzhauer, the Florida regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “At this time, it appears to be a robbery that went badly. Currently no evidence has been brought to light that it was motivated by anti-Semitism. While our community is on high alert due to recent anti-Semitic incidents that have coincided with hostilities in the Middle East, we must be careful not to assume this was a hate-motivated crime unless or until such information is discovered and released by law enforcement.”