Miami-Dade Police Address Shooting Death of Brooklyn Rabbi Joseph Raksin

A makeshift memorial at the site where a rabbi was shot and killed on Saturday keeps his memory alive as police continue to search for the suspected killers.

A Miami-Dade Police chaplain said Monday that a rabbi who was shot and killed while walking to his North Miami Beach temple Saturday morning likely did not have his wallet on him.

Police said the shooting death of 60-year-old Rabbi Joseph Raksin was an apparent robbery, but they are not ruling out the possibility of a hate crime following anti-Semitic vandalism at a nearby synagogue just two weeks ago.

"Right now, there are no indications this was a hate crime or related to a hate crime," said Major Hector Llevat. "However, we are not closing the door. We are not ruling that out."

MDPD Chaplain Rabbi Pinchas Weberman said it was unlikely that Raksin would have been carrying a wallet with him on the Sabbath due to his religious beliefs.

"The purpose of the Sabbath is rest," Weberman said. "Whenever you walk on the street you're going to tap your wallet to see if it's still there. It's a source of tension. You walk out without the wallet you have rest."

Police spoke at Monday morning regarding Raskin's death, saying they are investigating all possible leads in the case.

"We'd like to let the community know that we understand the fright, the anxiety, the anguish that comes with a cowardly act like this and we share in the community's urgency to find the perpretrators of this act," said Maj. Llevat.

Police said Raksin was walking on the 800 block of NE 175th Street around 9 a.m. when two young males approached him and shot him after an altercation.

The suspects fled the scene, one on bike and one on foot, according to police. Raksin was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center where he died.

Also, Monday, a large crowd of mourners showed up in Brooklyn for Raksin’s funeral, NBC 4 New York reported.

“He was a sweetheart, what should I tell you?” asked Isaac Neworth, Raksin’s brother-in-law. “My kids are hysterically crying. He was the uncle that was always the hug, the pat on the head. He would take our religious ideals and bring them to life.”

“A fellow who wanted to live a pious life and also a very modest life and a humble life,” said Rabbi Shea Hecht, a friend of Reksin’s in New York. “For him to be taken in this way is really horrendous. I search myself for the meaning.”

Raksin has a wife in Brooklyn, and is a father of six.

The Anti-Defamation League said it is talking with police about the investigation.

If you have any information about the shooting death, call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

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