Seminole County deputies ID worker killed at mosque near Sanford

Mahmood Al Taee, 59, of Longwood was found dead at the Husseini Islamic Center Thursday

Mahmood Al Taee, 59, of Longwood was found dead at the Husseini Islamic Center on March 24 (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office released the identity Tuesday of a man who was likely killed with a shovel at a mosque near Sanford.

Deputies said Mahmood Al Taee, 59, of Longwood was found dead at the Husseini Islamic Center, at 5211 Hester Ave., Thursday morning.

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Al Taee was a maintenance worker at the mosque, according to investigators. Deputies believed he tried to confront Ahmed Raslan, 38, at the mosque but was overpowered and killed.

Al Taee was a refugee from Iraq who was getting ready to return home following the death of his father.

“He was the heart and soul of this mosque,” said Mahmood Dhalla, president of the Husseini Islamic Center. “He’s always said, ‘I would protect this place with my life’ and I think he did. So we’re very grateful.”

Investigators said Raslan believed Julius Caesar had told him to go to the mosque and that he believed it to be Caesar’s home.

Deputies said a shovel found on the scene is likely the murder weapon. Investigators believe the attacker dragged the victim outside and attempted to hose down the body.

Deputies said Raslan was seen leaving the scene in the victim’s 2006 blue Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Several hours later, the Indian River Sheriff’s Office spotted the van in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club.

Body camera video released by the sheriff’s office shows deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop and when the man got out of the vehicle, he reached into his pocket and gestured with his fingers like he had a weapon, according to the sheriff.

Raslan has been in the hospital since the shooting. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said he is “stable, alert and cooperating with law enforcement.”

Seminole County’s sheriff said he could face a first-degree murder charge

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.