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A member of the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Ephraim Klein, was shot to death in his car on Tuesday.
It is unclear whether the incident was anti-Semitic in nature. The local Jewish Community Council has offered a reward of $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those who committed the murder.
The neighborhood where the crime occurred was the scene of violent riots in 1991 between its Jewish and black residents.
The shooting happened at 1:30 a.m. (US time) as Klein was looking for a parking space on Carroll Street, one of the neighborhood's residential blocks. According to both the Jewish Community Council of Crown Heights and the local 71st police precinct, he was moving at no more than 10 miles an hour when a single bullet pierced his arm and entered his chest cavity. This caused Klein to lose control of his car, hitting a number of other parked vehicles until he came to a stop.
He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Kings County Hospital a few blocks away.
Klein was 43 and the father of three children. On Sunday, he was to travel to Israel to attend the wedding of one of his sons.
Chanina Sperlin, executive vice president of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, said the community was in an "uproar" over the murder but he was not willing to say whether he believed the shooting was motivated by anti-Semitism. "It could have been a carjacking, maybe they thought he was somebody else," Sperlin said. "You don't want to jump to conclusions until you get the whole story."
Executive officer of the 71st precinct, Captain Daniel Sosnowik, said that no motive has been determined yet for the killing. Sosnowik says detectives are investigating the likelihood that the crime was anti-Semitic, among other possibilities.
Representatives of the New York City Police Department, including Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, met with the board of the Community Council immediately following the incident. The board expressed a need for more protection of their streets. Crown Heights is patrolled at night both by police officers from the 71st precinct and by a local neighborhood watch group, Shmira.
Sosnowik insisted that the presence of the Shmira patrol does not diminish the number of New York City police officers watching the neighborhood at night.
Klein's funeral will be held on Tuesday in front of 770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of Chabad, the world Lubavitch movement.