‘Primary suspect’ identified in New Mexico Muslim killings

Southwest

Muhammad Syed, 51, is suspected of killing two Muslim men in Albuquerque (Albuquerque Police Department)

(NewsNation) — Police identified the 51-year-old primary suspect connected to a recent string of homicides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In a news conference Tuesday, APD Chief Harold Medina identified the suspect as Muhammad Syed, taken into custody after detectives searched his home the day prior.

Syed reportedly knew the victims and an “interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings,” according to a news release.

Authorities plan to charge Syed with two homicides, Medina said, and investigators are looking at charges in regard to the two remaining homicides.

“This has been a tough week for our community,” Medina said in a statement. “But we all pitched in to solve these crimes and protect a community that felt like it was under attack. We came together, like we always do in Albuquerque.”

Three Muslim men were killed ambush-style in just the last two weeks and a fourth was killed last November. Police reported earlier this week the killings were likely connected.

Syed will be charged with killing Aftab Hussein on July 26 and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain on Aug. 1, police said in a news release. Detectives found the gun used in those shootings connected to shell casings at the scene.

Investigators are working with prosecutors regarding charges in the deaths of Naeem Hussain on Aug. 5 and Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi in November of last year.

“We can now come out of fear,” Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, brother of Muhammad Azfaal Hussain, said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Tuesday. “Now we can sometimes leave our door open. Now I can sit on the balcony and drink coffee. Now I can go outside for shopping. Now I can go outside for a walk. Now I can take my kids to the playground. Now I feel like my care is safe,” Hussan continued.

During the investigation, police were looking for a dark gray or silver Volkswagen with tinted windows, which was believed to be connected to the murders.

Investigators spotted the car while preparing to search Syed’s home on Monday, according to police.

“The definition of a serial killer is a person who commits three murders or more. And you have four people who have been killed, allegedly by the same person in the same fashion, targeting the same group of people. We don’t struggle with terms but we tell it like it is. A serial killer is a serial killer,” said Nihad Awad, executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

President Joe Biden denounced the killings on Twitter.

“I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” he said. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.”

The FBI was called in to help with the investigation. Local police at the news conference Sunday declined to provide many details about the investigation, only saying the four homicides had “several things in common.”

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