NEW YORK, NOV. 7 -- El-Sayyid A. Nosair began the week with his usual 7 a.m.-to-3 p.m. shift as an air-conditioning maintenance man for the city at the criminal courthouse. Hours later, authorities said, he stood up in a hotel conference room and, at point-blank range, shot extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane with a .357-caliber handgun.
In the two days since Kahane's death, they said, a sketchy portrait of his alleged killer has begun to emerge. Nosair, 34, is a secretive, devout Moslem who moved often and last lived with his family in a suburban New Jersey house where, neighbors said today, the shades were always drawn. He lied about his address on his job application, because the city only hires residents.
Police maintained today that Nosair acted alone and said they have no evidence of a conspiracy or links to any organization. No motive has been established, they said.
Last night, local reporters said, police searched Nosair's last address, a two-story brick house in Cliffside Park, N.J., removing a filing cabinet and finding bomb-making manuals, information about Mideast troop deployments, videotaped discussions of Arab-Israeli issues and a board with a target on it.
But tonight, investigators said the papers amounted to a "personal library" of religious and political tracts and showed no evidence of communication with other groups or individuals.
Kahane, the fiery, Brooklyn-born founder of the militant Jewish Defense League and an elected member of the Israeli Parliament until his far-right party was banned for its staunch anti-Arab stand, died after a speech in a midtown Manhattan hotel.
A bearded man, whom witnessses have identified as Nosair, stood up in the audience, fired at Kahane from less than five feet away and fled, wounding a man selling political pamphlets outside.
As he tried to commandeer a cab, Nosair was shot by a Postal Service policeman. Nosair is hospitalized in fair condition with a bullet in his jaw.
Nosair was arraigned today, surrounded in his 15th-floor hospital room by police wearing bulletproof vests and carrying gas masks on their belts. Police officials said that they have not questioned him but that he passed them a note Tuesday night denying that he shot Kahane.
Nosair has used a chain of addresses and identities, including the surnames Noseir, Nosir and Nasser, authorities said. Last year, he was granted U.S. citizenship as "El Sayyd Abdulaziz El Sayyd." When arrested, police said, he was carrying three driver's licenses with three different addresses and a newspaper announcement of Kahane's speaking engagement.
Born in Port Said, Egypt, Nosair entered the United States on a visitor's visa in 1981, according to immigration records, and the next year in Pittsburgh married Caren Ann Mills, an American who converted to Islam. They have two sons, 7 and 5, and a daughter, 11.
Nosair was fired as a diamond setter in Pittsburgh, in part because his efforts to convert coworkers to Islam interfered with his work, New York Newsday reported. The family then lived at several Jersey City addresses, and Nosair worshiped at the Masjid Al Salam mosque, a dilapidated, third-floor storefront above a check-cashing center and Chinese restaurant.
People there today said Nosair had not prayed there for more than a year but may have rented a postal box in the building.
Neighbors on the tree-lined street in Cliffside Park where Nosair moved six months ago described the family as "strange" and "very private." Today, the house was quiet and empty except for children's clothes strewn about and a toy rifle in the foyer.
"See the way the shades are drawn?" said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. "That's how they lived all the time. And the cellar light would be on almost every night."
Only a few weeks ago, other neighbors said, the family appeared to be settling in, having filled in the back yard swimming pool and planted new grass.
At the courthouse where Nosair held a job that paid $30,000 to $35,000 a year as a "high-pressure plant tender," officials said he had a satisfactory record and a reputation as a religious man who worshiped kneeling on a prayer mat several times a day.
Personnel records show Nosair was on "documented sick leave" last week.