Miami-Dade police have yet to make any arrests in the shooting death of a Jewish rabbi on a Miami-area street corner that may or may not have been an anti-Semitic hate crime.
Two young males, one of whom may have fled the scene on a bicycle, are being sought in the death of Rabbi Joseph Raksin of Brooklyn, New York.
Raksin, 60, was shot and killed on August 9 as he was walking to a Miami synagogue to attend sabbath services. He was in Florida visiting his daughter and grandchildren. First responders to the scene airlifted the rabbi to a local hospital where he tragically passed away from one or more gunshot wounds.
Police claim that have obtained surveillance video of one suspect running from the scene in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. According to WVSN Channel 7, investigators claim they are making progress:
“Law enforcement sources said all their efforts in terms of speaking to witnesses and surveillance combined with forensics has enabled them to ‘narrow their focus.’ Officials said they have been ‘working around the clock on this case,’ and the focus right now is ‘closing in.'”
So far, detectives insist that Raksin’s murder was not a hate crime, but family and members of the community believe otherwise, i.e., that he was targeted because he was Jewish. According to the Miami Herald, “The shooting took place in an area of unincorporated Northeast Miami-Dade near North Miami Beach, where swastikas found painted on a local synagogue last month have worried local Jewish leaders.”
A local rabbi cast doubt on the notion floated by the Anti-Defamation League (but not confirmed by police) that a robbery gone wrong motivated the crime because orthodox Jews don’t carry money on the sabbath.
An official with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation told JTA.org, “We don’t know if Rabbi Raksin’s murder was a hate crime or not. We do know that it followed local anti-Semitic incidents. We do know that it happened in a climate of a worldwide dramatic increase in anti-Semitic behavior. It happened in a climate of peak concern about anti-Semitism.”
The Miami Jewish community has offered $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of the rabbi. The local Crime Stoppers have added $3,000 to the reward fund.