Albuquerque Police Detain ‘Primary Suspect’ in Muslim Man’s Murders, Police Chief Says

“We located a vehicle believed to be involved in the recent killing of a Muslim man in Albuquerque,” Medina tweeted. “The driver has been detained and is our primary suspect in the murders. We will be notifying the media later this afternoon.”

Although police did not provide details on how the killings took place, they identified three of the victims — Muhammad Afzal Hussain, 27; Aftab Hussain, 41, and Mohammad Ahmadi, 62 — “were ambushed and gunned down without warning.”

Later, after community members marked a lazy Friday prayer, following the funeral of two of the victims, a fourth person — Naeem Hussain, 25 — was found dead hours after attending the service. He became the third Muslim killed in the city in less than two weeks and the fourth since November.

While police have not definitively said the four attacks are related, they have said they are investigating whether that is the case. While no one was in custody, police did not comment on a possible motive or whether any of the shootings were being investigated as hate crimes.

However, it is “deeply troubling” that the victims were Muslim and of similar descent, said Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of the city police department’s criminal investigations division.

Police have not released any details of the suspect or suspects in the murder. However, they said they were looking for a “vehicle of interest” linked to the four murders. Police say the vehicle is a dark silver sedan, possibly a Volkswagen Jetta.

But the photos released by the department did not make it clear who owned the car and where it was. Police said the vehicle was “suspected to have been used in the recent killing of 4 Muslim men for kidnapping”.

“Everybody believes that vehicle was critical to what happened in at least two of the shootings,” Mayor Timothy Keller told CNN on Monday. “We have shell casings that we can put together through a national database. That gives us some hope. But we may have a long way to go.”

A $20,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest or arrest in the murders. Officials have also set up Online portal Residents can upload videos and pictures that could help investigators.

Ambush-style assassinations

The three most recent killings claimed the lives of men from Pakistan, and the number of shootings drew the attention of investigators to the unsolved killing of an Afghan man reported in 2021.

The latest homicide happened around midnight on August 5th in the area of ​​Truman Street and Grand Avenue. Responding to reports of a shooting, police found Naeem Hussain dead from a gunshot wound.

A spokesman for the mosque in Albuquerque said he attended the funerals of two other victims the same day and expressed concern about the shooting.

On August 1, officers found Mohammad Afzal Hussain on the sidewalk in the area of ​​Cornell Street and Lead Avenue around 9:19 p.m. He was shot and died of his injuries, police said.

On July 26, officers found Aftab Hussain in the 400 block of Rhode Island around 10:30 p.m., who also died as a result of his injuries, police said.

Police are investigating whether the Aug. 1 and July 26 shootings are connected to another Nov. 7 homicide. That day, officers found an Afghan man named Mohammad Ahmadi with a gunshot wound in the parking lot behind his business. His brother.

4 Muslim men killed in Albuquerque.  Here's what we know about them

Referring to last week’s shootings of Muhammad Afzal Hussain, Aftab Hussain and Mohammad Ahmadi, Hartsock said, “Our homicide detectives and our investigators now believe that there is a strong possibility that the same person committed these three crimes. “While we won’t go into why we think that, all of our victims There is a strong commonality – their ethnicity and religion.

“We take this very seriously and would like the public’s help in identifying this cowardly individual who attacked and shot the victims without warning in all three cases,” Hartsock added.

Albuquerque’s Muslim community lives in fear

The killings have put the city’s Muslim community on edge, with some afraid to go to mosques, buy food or sit outside, says Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico.

Assed said he is now among the many Muslims in New Mexico who struggle with fear every day.

3 Muslim men killed in Albuquerque  The police are investigating the possible connection to the same killer

“I get in the car, I look every possible way, I look in my side mirror, I look behind, I look for any sign of anything out of the ordinary,” he said. said.

Upon hearing the news of Muhammad Afzal Hussain’s death, a Muslim mother of nine in Albuquerque told her children, “‘You don’t want to leave the house after a certain hour,'” mother Samia Azed told CNN on Tuesday.

“I’ve been vigilant outside. We take care of ourselves. We don’t go out. Our daily routine has changed,” he said.

The city is now increasing its police presence at mosques, Muslim-affiliated schools and the University of New Mexico. Gov. Michael Lujan Grisham also announced the deployment of additional state police to Albuquerque.

“We’ve got extra police patrols at every mosque during prayer times. We’re providing meals to people who are afraid to come out of their homes. We’re also providing trauma services to people who are in their homes or mosques. Passing through,” Keller said. “Right now is a very difficult time for this community and our city.”

Who are the victims?

Naeem Hussain emigrated from Pakistan in 2016 as a refugee — fleeing persecution as a Shia Muslim — and became a U.S. citizen just last month, according to his brother-in-law Ehsan Shahalami.

The young man, who owned a trucking business, was described as kind, generous and hardworking.

Muhammad Afzal Hussain served on the planning committee for the city of Española. He studied law and human resource management at Punjab University in Pakistan before earning master’s and bachelor’s degrees in community and regional planning at the University of New Mexico, according to the mayor’s news release.

“Muhammad was soft-spoken, kind and quick to laugh,” said Española Mayor John Ramon Vigil. “He was well respected and liked by his colleagues and members of the community.”

Few details about the other two victims have been released.

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