Albuquerque police charge 51-year old man in connection with 2 of the 4 murders of Muslim men in the city
- A suspect has been charged with killing two Muslim men in Albuquerque.
- Police say a tip from the community led them to the 51-year-old.
Albuquerque police have charged a 51-year old man in connection with two of the four murders of Muslim men in the city.
At a press conference on Tuesday, APD Chief Harold Medina said Muhammad Syed had been charged with killing Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussain, after a tip came in from the community about the suspect's vehicle.
Medina said detectives were about to conduct a search warrant at Syed's home, when they saw him driving off in a Volkswagon Jetta. From there, he said, detectives were able to locate the firearms used in the killings; one in Syed's vehicle and one in his home.
The motives for the killings are still being investigated. Medina said Syed had prior misdemeanors including a domestic violence charge.
Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said law enforcement are still working on gathering evidence on whether Syed may have been involved with the two other murders.
Naeem Hussain, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, and Aftab Hussain were killed in ambush shootings in the last two weeks. They were all from Pakistan. Police believe that a fourth killing — of Afghanistan-born Mohammad Ahmadi back in November — was also connected.
Chief Medina tweeted just before 1 p.m. Tuesday that his officers tracked down a vehicle they believed to be connected to the killings, and the driver of the vehicle was detained.
Medina said the driver "is our primary suspect for the murders" and that more details would be released at a press conference later in the afternoon.
Living in fear
The recent spate of killings has sparked fear among Muslims living in the city, a victim's brother and a mosque official told Insider Monday.
Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, whose 27-year-old brother Afzaal Hussain was killed on August 1, told Insider that the family had come to America from Pakistan looking for better futures and loved the community they found in Albuquerque.
They felt safe walking alone at night or early in the morning, and had never been victims of violence before.
In the wake of Afzaal Hussain's killing, though, his brother said he feels unsafe and has been moving his children between friends' homes trying to protect them, he told Insider.
The 27-year-old, who worked as a city planner for a city an hour north, walked out of his apartment and was shot in the head, his brother said.
"The way he was killed was so brutal," he said. "We couldn't put his head together."
Now Imtiaz Hussain is in the process of trying to relocate.
"I'm afraid for my safety and for my kids. My dad is very worried and calling us to 'please come back,'" he said Monday.
Aneela Abad, general secretary of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told Insider that it's especially unsettling how the three recent killings are being connected to Ahmadi's shooting nearly a year ago.
"We're shocked that somebody who lives here locally, they can lie low and just reappear all of a sudden and there's three shootings in a row," Abad said.
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