Lubavitch Hasid Shot to Death in Brooklyn While in His Car

NEW YORK - A resident of the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn was found shot in his car a few blocks from his house yesterday.

Police said they believed the man, Ephraim (Freidrich) Klein, 47, a member of the Lubavitch community, was shot in the chest and killed between Monday and Tuesday nights apparently while moving his car from a parking place on one side of the street to the other.

"So far we don't know what the motive was for the murder," Hanina Sperlin, a community leader of Crown Heights told Haaretz yesterday.

"The murder took place on the outskirts of the neighborhood in an area with a lot of crime," he said.

Dozens of police officers arrived at the scene to investigate the murder.

According to one report, an eyewitness said Klein had been caught in a shoot-out between gangs.

The local community announced a prize of $10,000 for information leading to suspects in Klein's murder. Sperlin said Klein, who is survived by his wife and three children, was well liked in the community.

Sperlin also said that Klein was planning on flying to Israel for his son's wedding next week.

The Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn where Klein lived is a mixed Jewish-black neighborhood. In 1991, riots broke out in Crown Heights during which a Hassidic man was stabbed. However in recent years the area is said to have been a model of coexistance.

"We are very angry and worried," Sperlin said. "This is a quiet and crime-free area."