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Suspect charged in deaths of 2 of 4 Muslim men fatally shot in Albuquerque, police say

ALBUQUERQUE — Albuquerque police arrested a suspect early Tuesday evening in connection with the recent slayings of four Muslim men in that city since November.

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Update 7:01 p.m. EDT Aug. 9: Muhammad Syed, 51, was taken into custody Monday night about two hours east of Albuquerque, and by Tuesday evening he had been charged in two of the four homicides under investigation, KRQE reported.

According to police, Syed was charged in the July 26 shooting of Aftab Hussein, 41, and the Aug. 1 shooting of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, after detectives connected those homicides using bullet casings found at the crime scenes. The gun used in both slayings was recovered during a Monday night search of Syed’s home, the TV station reported.

Albuquerque Police Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said during a Tuesday evening news conference that detectives are still investigating Syed’s possible involvement in the November 2021 slaying of Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, and the Aug. 5 killing of Naeem Hussain, 25. Both were shot.

Although a clear motive for the shootings has not yet been made public, a news release issued by the Albuquerque Police Department stated “detectives discovered evidence that shows the offender knew the victims to some extent, and an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shooting(s).”

When told about Syed’s arrest, Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, brother of one of the victims, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, told The Associated Press that he felt relieved but needed to know more about the suspect and the motive.

“This gives us hope that we will have (the) truth come out,” he said. “We need to know why.”

Original report: Authorities have detained a suspect in the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, Police Chief Harold Medina said Tuesday.

“We tracked down the vehicle believed to be involved in a recent murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque,” he said. “The driver was detained and he is our primary suspect for the murders.”

No other information was immediately available. Medina said more information will be shared later Tuesday afternoon.

On Sunday, police asked for the public’s help finding a silver car believed to be linked to the killings. Authorities identified the slain men as 25-year-old Naeem Hussain, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 41-year-old Aftab Hussein and 62-year-old Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, according to KRQE.

Officials said Saturday that investigators have found a connection between the Aug. 1 killing of Muhammed Afzaal Hussain and the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein. Both men were Muslim, from Pakistan and killed in Southeast Albuquerque, authorities said. Detectives were also investigating a possible link to the Nov. 7, 2021, killing of Ahmadi, who was Muslim and from Afghanistan.

The three men died in ambush shootings, The Associated Press reported. Police said they found Naeem Hussain dead of a shooting on Friday night, according to police and the AP.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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