Hundreds gathered Monday to mourn the Brooklyn rabbi who was gunned down outside Miami over the weekend while visiting relatives as authorities in a suburb of the Florida city tried to assuage community concerns over the fatal shooting.
Throngs of mourners flooded the streets as the casket of Rabbi Joseph Raksin, who killed while walking to a temple Saturday night, was carried to Shomrei Haddas on 13th Avenue in Borough Park.
Raksin was visiting his two daughters, grandchildren and son-in-law when he was killed. He has a wife in Brooklyn and is a father of six.
"He was a sweetheart, what should I tell you?" said Isaac Newton, Raskin's brother-in-law. "He would take our religious ideals and bring them to life."
Miami-Dade police say their preliminary investigation indicates robbery was a potential motive; they say Raksin did not have his wallet on him because it was the Sabbath. They say they're looking for two young suspects, one of whom was on a bicycle at the time of the shooting.
Members of the community staged a protest outside a Miami-Dade Police Department precinct on Sunday and told NBC South Florida that the shooting should have been classified as a hate crime.
"It was a hate crime because there was no altercation," said Raksin's nephew Menachem Katz. "There was no robbery. He had no money. He wasn't a fighter, he was a very quiet person."
The shooting comes about two weeks after swastikas were spray-painted on a synagogue blocks from where the 60-year-old Raksin was killed.
The Anti-Defamation League says it is talking with police about the investigation.
"While the motivation for this crime is still being investigated, nothing can justify the killing of an innocent man walking to his place of worship to pray on his holy day," said Anti-Defamation League Florida Regional Director Hava Holzhauer in a statement.
Members of Miami's Orthodox Jewish community are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.