A 52-year-old man was shot outside a mosque while selling goods in Providence on Friday, according to Rhode Island officials.
Patricia Socarras, the city’s director of communications, told CNN the shooting happened at the Islamic Center of Rhode Island. She added the victim appeared to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was immediately transported from the scene.
Col. Oscar L. Perez, the police chief in Providence, told reporters during a news conference police received a call at 11:22 a.m. about the shooting.
The victim was at a table selling Islamic goods and at some point began folding some of the items when he was shot in the buttocks, according to Perez.
“We would hold those accountable that think that they can come to the city and commit violent crime in our city,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”
Law enforcement authorities will provide security at the mosque to ensure everyone is safe, Perez added.
Socarras said the search for the suspect is ongoing and no one is in custody. A motive for the shooting is still under investigation, authorities said.
The Islamic Center of Rhode Island’s Imam, Abdul-Latif Sackor, said the center has video footage of a man waiting across the street for 20 minutes prior to the shooting, according to CNN affiliate WJAR.
Sackor said he feels the center was targeted and hopes police find out more information throughout the investigation.
The center has turned over the video to police and noted the person was standing across from the center before its scheduled 11:30 a.m. prayer service, Sackor said.
Providence police confirmed to CNN they have received the video from the center and are investigating the motive of the shooting, and whether the suspect shot the man because he had a vendetta or for some other reason.
“We’ve been here for years and we haven’t had this type of issue,” Sackor said, according to WJAR. “We’ll try to get protection from the police and we’ll try to protect ourselves, that’s all we can do.”
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