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Arrest made in deadly shooting outside Tampa mosque

Muhammad Rakibul Haque, 42, turned himself in Saturday and was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. He is accused of fatally shooting 36-year-old Rafat Saeed after a scuffle outside a crowded Tampa mosque on May 20. [Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
Published Jun. 30

TAMPA — Six weeks after a 36-year-old man was fatally shot after a scuffle outside the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, deputies have made an arrest.

Muhammad Rakibul Haque, a 42-year-old Temple Terrace insurance agent, turned himself in to authorities Saturday afternoon after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He faces a charge of second-degree murder.

The shooting took place on May 20. An off-duty deputy detained Haque soon after the shooting took place just outside the mosque's parking lot following a Ramadan prayer service. Deputies did not identify either man after the shooting, but family identified the victim as Rafat Saeed.

The Sheriff's Office said Saeed's family was told that an arrest had been made in the case. The family attended Haque's bond hearing Sunday.

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The family attended his bond hearing today.

"They were becoming frustrated and angry with the system, that nothing had happened yet," said Sam Badawi, an attorney representing Huda Kareem, Saeed's widow. "When we got the news that he was arrested, it was a big relief for the family."

Kareem filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the mosque and Haque in Hillsborough County circuit court days after her husband's death.

Saeed and Haque knew each other and had been at odds for years, according to the Islamic Society and the lawsuit. Haque stopped Saeed for speeding through the parking lot and the two argued, the complaint said. Then the two men fought. Haque shoved Saeed "face–first" to the ground, then shot him in the back, the lawsuit said.

A preliminary medical examiner's report confirmed that Saeed was killed by a bullet in the "left aspect of (Saeed's) back."

The wrongful death suit seeks damages from the mosque because of "negligent retention, training and supervision" of the mosque's "security team," made up of volunteer members of the congregation. Haque was one of those volunteers, the lawsuit said, and was working security following the mosque's late-night prayer service. Haque saw Saeed cut through the mosque's parking lot on his way home from another nearby mosque, the suit said.

"(Kareem) wants justice to be served so his blood won't be swept under the rug," Badawi said. "If you have a security guard on staff, make sure you vet them out, make sure you properly train them."

Contact Anastasia Dawson at adawson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.

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