FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A brutal attack on a freelance photographer this month was racially motivated, according to a preliminary investigation by Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office detectives.

Jamil S. Hubbard, 25, of Sayreville, approached 55-year-old Jerry Wolkowitz and hit him from behind on May 1, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Wolkowitz was hit on his head and his face before being dragged into the parking lot of an apartment building on Harding Road, Gramiccioni said. Hubbard then stole Wolkowitz's car and drove over him, prosecutors say. Police said they found the cr at Hubbard's home in Sayreville.

"The investigation determined that the defendant targeted the victim because of his race," spokesman Chris Swendeman said, adding that Hubbard, who is black, and Wolkowitz, who is white, did not know each other.

Hubbard was charged with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and first-degree bias intimidation. He is being kept in custody pending a court hearing on July 10.

Friends and family have been monitoring Wolkowitz's progress and asking for prayers.

"I am sickened by this cowardly act of unnecessary violence to a man how spent most of his life helping others," one of his friends said on Facebook.

New Jersey 101.5 weekend traffic anchor Bernie Wagenblast said Wolkowitz was a shift operations supervisor for Transcom, a coalition of 16 transportation and public safety agencies in the region. He worked for Shadow Traffic's New York office between 1983 and 1986 as a producer.

As a matter of policy, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the county jail do not release arrest booking photos of suspects.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ