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Updated: Thursday, 29 Oct 2009, 8:15 AM EDT

Published : Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009, 7:19 PM EDT


Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) – A group of men attacked a Detroit News photographer Wednesday evening outside a mosque whose leader was fatally shot earlier in the day while exchanging gunfire with federal agents.

The men were on the porch at the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque when Ricardo Thomas, 67, arrived and began taking photos from across the street. Several pushed him, one threw a punch at him and his camera equipment valued at $10,000 was smashed.

Thomas was kicked while on the ground and suffered a cut lip. Police were called and Thomas drove himself to a hospital for treatment. He said “there was no reason” for the men to attack him.

“It’s a public street,” Thomas said. “I am a journalist doing my job, just like all the other journalists doing their jobs.”

Thomas was able to recover images of his attackers from the camera’s memory card.

Jonathan Wolman, editor and publisher of the News, said Thomas was on assignment at the mosque with one of the newspaper’s reporters and was making an eyewitness account of an important story.

“It’s outrageous that he was roughed up on the scene,” Wolman said.

The mosque’s leader, Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, described by prosecutors as a leader of a radical Sunni Islam group, was fatally shot earlier Wednesday while resisting arrest, authorities said.

Detroit police Sgt. Scott Konczal said investigators would review a WJBK-TV videotape of the incident before making any arrests. He said three suspects had left the scene by the time police arrived at the mosque.

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