NEWARK – Authorities are offering tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who helps investigators find who shot an imam to death outside a mosque earlier this year.

Hassan Sharif was shot around 6:15 a.m. on Jan. 3 as he was about to go inside the Masjid Muhammad mosque for morning prayers, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

The 52-year-old imam was hospitalized in critical condition and died hours later.

As the investigation into Sharif's killing approaches six months, officials are making a renewed push to find his killer.

Imam Hassan Sharif
Imam Hassan Sharif (Masjid Muhammad-Newark)
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The Essex County Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to the shooter's arrest has increased to $35,000, Sheriff Armando Fontoura said.

Confidential tips can be made by calling the Essex County Prosecutor's Office at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

Authorities believe imam's killing was not a bias crime

In the hours after the imam's killing, Attorney General Matthew Platkin said that there was no evidence to suggest the shooting was motivated by bias.

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Masjid Muhammad Mosque in Newark
Masjid Muhammad Mosque in Newark (Google Maps)
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New Jersey 101.5 has sent an inquiry to the OAG to confirm there was no new evidence of a possible bias crime.

Investigators were looking into the possibility that a family member was responsible for the killing, NBC 4 New York reported. However, authorities have not said they are looking for a particular suspect and no description of the shooter had been released.

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