NATIONAL NEWS

Facilities manager killed in Florida mosque attack hailed as hero, credited with saving children’s lives

Mar 25, 2022, 3:39 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:17 pm
...

(CNN) — Authorities are hailing the facilities manager at a Florida mosque as a hero who gave his life and potentially saved children at the center’s school and day care.

Seminole County deputies responded early Thursday morning to the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford after a woman called 911 and said there was an injured, potentially deceased person on the property, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said at a news conference.

According to the 911 caller, when she arrived for work at the center, she saw a pair of pants at the front door. Inside she found signs of an altercation: Chairs were thrown around, a table moved and a window had been smashed with a propane tank, Lemma said. The woman saw a body on the back porch and called the police, he said.

Deputies found the body of the 59-year-old facilities manager on the porch. He had been bludgeoned and beaten with a shovel, Lemma said.

Authorities have identified the suspect as 38-year-old Ahmed Raslan.

A spokesperson from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office told CNN by phone Friday that Raslan remains in the hospital in stable condition after being shot three times by deputies during his apprehension. Raslan has been charged with premeditated murder in the first degree, according to the RCSO spokesperson.

CNN has been unable to determine if Raslan has obtained legal representation.

Authorities believe Raslan entered the mosque after breaking the window with the propane tank. The deadly altercation happened when the victim came in for the day, Lemma said.

“You can just imagine for one moment, if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of our victim trying to confront this threat, struggle there and prevent any of those other people who may have been coming in just minutes later from experiencing similar fate,” Lemma said.

The name of the victim has not been released.

The Islamic Center’s president praised the employee for saving others at the center, which serves as a school and daycare during the day.

Mahmood Dhalla said, “He will be memorialized forever in our community. He saved our children’s lives.”

Dhalla remembered the facilities manager as the “heart and soul” of the center who wore many hats at the mosque — from arranging furniture, to maintenance and security.

“He was an amazing person. He always said, ‘I will protect this place with my life,’ and I think he did just that,” Dhalla said.

During their investigation, authorities discovered that Raslan was not known to anyone at the center.

Raslan indicated on social media posts that he believed he was a descendant of Julius Caesar and he needed to defend Caesar’s property, the sheriff said.

“Clearly this location was targeted,” Lemma said. “Not targeted based upon it being a mosque. It was targeted because the murderer believed this was Caesar’s home.”

Raslan allegedly left the center in the victim’s vehicle. Law enforcement officers were looking for the vehicle when it was seen on a license plate reader in Indian River County, Sheriff Eric Flowers said in a news conference.

Deputies stopped the vehicle in a Sam’s Club parking lot. Raslan got out of the vehicle but would not comply when asked to put his hands up. At one point, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his hands, pointing them like guns at the deputies, according to body camera video released by the department.

He then turned and dove back into the vehicle, Flowers said. Deputies fired their weapons, striking him three times.

Raslan will likely face murder charges, Lemma said.

The two deputies who fired their weapons are on paid leave, pending an investigation. No one else was injured in the incident.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

J. Alexander Kueng, the former Minneapolis police officer who assisted in the fatal restraint of Ge...
Ray Sanchez and Brad Parks, CNN

Former police officer who helped restrain George Floyd sentenced to 3.5 years in prison

A former Minneapolis police officer who assisted in the fatal restraint of George Floyd was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison Friday for his role in the killing.
1 day ago
U.S. Sen. Kyrtsen Sinema (D-AZ) speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for...
JONATHAN J. COOPER and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema switches to independent

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says she has switched her registration to independent.
1 day ago
Oranges lay on the ground near a tree after hurricane Ian hit V.C. Holllingsworth's, III, orange gr...
CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

U.S. officials say Florida's seasonal orange production is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions.
1 day ago
Questions surround negotiations for prisoner swap to free Brittney Griner...
LEKAN OYEKANMI and ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Griner in ‘good spirits’ in US after Russian prisoner swap

Brittney Griner returned to the United States Friday and was reunited with her wife nearly 10 months after her detention in Russia made the basketball star the most high-profile American jailed abroad and set off a political firestorm.
1 day ago
JIm Beam is selling hug-simulating pajamas for the holidays.
Mandatory Credit:	Jim Beam...
Parija Kavilanz, CNN

Jim Beam offers novel fix for holiday blues: hug-simulating pajamas

Bourbon brand Jim Beam is offering what could possibly be the weirdest gift for the holidays — hug-simulating pajamas.
1 day ago
Patrick Giblin in an undated arrest photo. He portrayed himself to women as a wealthy romantic look...
Faith Karimi, CNN

A fake Romeo charmed over 100 women, then scammed them

Patrick Giblin was like the American version of the "Tinder Swindler" -- but without the private jets.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Facilities manager killed in Florida mosque attack hailed as hero, credited with saving children’s lives