Two Muslim men in Oakland shot dead near mosque, assailants at large
Multiple assailants are believed to be behind the fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third man that occurred near a mosque in the northern California city of Oakland.
The incident occurred Monday evening after several men had finished their evening prayers and were heading to a nearby restaurant.
So far, the police say there is not yet a clear motive, they don't know if any one person was being targeted, and no suspects have been arrested.
"This incident is very obviously tragic, and shocking for our community to experience this over and over again," Deputy Chief James Patrick said at a news conference, according to local news outlet KTVU. "We're taking nothing off the table, but we're investigating every possible scenario that may have resulted in this violent crime."
The report also suggested that the city's police force was understaffed considering the high homicide rate, with two unrelated murders occurring within hours of the mosque-area shootings.
Police said that when they arrived at the scene they saw the two victims, one in a store and the other inside Layalina, a Middle Eastern restaurant. The men, who were pronounced dead at the scene, were 27 years and 59 years old.
"We are deeply saddened by these horrific murders and urge anyone in the community with information to immediately contact Oakland Police," said Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area Executive Director Zahra Billoo in a public statement. "We urge police to be swift and thorough in their investigation."
Oakland, whose violent crime rate has dropped sharply since the 1980s, nevertheless remains one of the country's most dangerous cities. According to FBI statistics, Oakland has the third highest violent crime rate in California, after San Bernardino and ahead of Compton. In terms of total murders, Oakland comes in second in the state after Los Angeles.