As authorities look into how the shootings may be connected, the ambush-style killings of three Muslim men and the recent death of a fourth in Albuquerque have frightened the city’s Muslim community and prompted warnings for mosque attendees.
According to Albuquerque police, the four victims of the murders of Mohammad Ahmadi, age 62, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, age 27, Naeem Hussain, age 25, and Aftab Hussain, age 41, had one thing in common: they were all South Asian Muslims.
The city was on edge as police looked for any connections between the three most recent deaths, which occurred within two weeks. The attacks also brought attention to an unsolved homicide from November 2021.
The fact that these three men were Muslim and of similar ancestry is deeply troubling, according to Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Albuquerque Police Department, even though we are still sorting through all the evidence to look for additional connections.
An internet portal has been created allowing locals to post recordings and photographs that may be useful to police looking into the deaths, and the FBI is aiding with the probe. The local Crime Stoppers Board also decided to raise the reward to $20,000 for information that results in an arrest.
No descriptions of a suspect or suspects in the killings have been released by the police. However, they have stated that they are looking for “a vehicle of interest” that may be related to the four murders. The car is a dark silver, tinted, sedan-style Volkswagen Jetta or Passat. What is now known about the slayings and the inquiry is as follows:
How were the murders committed?
The most recent murder was reported on Friday when Albuquerque police officers who were called to allegations of a shooting just before midnight in the vicinity of Truman Street and Grand Avenue discovered Naeem Hussain dead.
Police in Albuquerque stated the murder “may be connected” to three other homicides of Muslim men from South Asia after it was discovered.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, Aftab Hussein, and Mohammad Ahmadi were all “ambushed without notice, fired on, and killed,” according to a prior statement by Hartsock.
Two of them, Pakistani men named Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, were assassinated in Southeast Albuquerque close to Central Avenue. According to the police, “there is a connection” between the two fatalities.
On August 1, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was shot and died. He was discovered near Cornell Street and Lead Avenue on a sidewalk.
Aftab Hussein had been discovered with what appeared to be gunshot wounds on the 400 block of Rhode Island just days before, on July 26. According to police, he later passed away as a result of his wounds.
As detectives looked into the recent deaths, they focused on the murder of Afghani Muslim Mohammad Ahmadi on November 7, 2021. Ahmadi was assassinated in front of the company he and his brother owned on San Mateo Boulevard.
Who are the sufferers?
According to his brother-in-law, Ehsan Shahalami, Naeem Hussain, who fled persecution as a Shia Muslim and immigrated to the US as a refugee from Pakistan in 2016, had only recently become a citizen of the US.
He started his own trucking company this year and was praised for being a kind, giving, and diligent individual.
According to a representative for an Albuquerque mosque, he had attended a funeral for the two most recent victims the day before his death and had spoken of his dread about the killings.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was a member of the Espaola planning team. Before earning his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico, he had studied law and human resource management at the University of Punjab in Pakistan, according to a statement from the mayor.
In a news release last Wednesday, Mayor John Ramon Vigil remarked of Muhammad, “Muhammad was soft-spoken and friendly, and quick to laugh. He was well-liked and respected by the people in his workplace and the neighborhood.
Almost nothing is known about the two other victims. Aftab Hussein was a Muslim from Pakistan, according to the police, while Mohammad Ahmadi was a Muslim from Afghanistan.
What stage is the probe in?
Police have so far distributed a leaflet with a picture of a “vehicle of interest” in each of the four homicides. Who owns the car and their potential connection to the attacks are yet unknown, though.
The car “is suspected as being utilized as a conveyance in recent homicides of 4 Muslim individuals,” according to police.
What was used in the recent murders of four Muslim males in Albuquerque, New Mexico?
WANTED: APD releases photos of a vehicle of interest in the shootings of 4 Muslim men. If you have any information about this vehicle please contact Crime Stoppers at (505)-843-STOP. pic.twitter.com/1h0vUvtbSg
— Albuquerque Police Department (@ABQPOLICE) August 7, 2022
“We currently hold a huge lead. We need to locate a car that is of interest to us “Tim Keller, mayor of Albuquerque, remarked. At this time, neither its affiliation nor its owner is known.
Police have not ruled out a connection between the four attacks, but they have stated that they are investigating the possibility.
In a briefing on Thursday, Hartsock noted that all of the victims had two things in common: their race and faith.
The public is being urged by authorities to come forward with any information that could aid in the investigation. The Albuquerque Metro CrimeStoppers website accepts tips.
How are regional and governmental authorities responding?
Following the slaying on Friday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared on Saturday that she would send more state police to Albuquerque.
“That this is taking place in New Mexico, a state that takes pride in its diversity of thought and culture, infuriates and saddens me. We are not like this, “According to Grisham’s statement. We are using every available tool to find the killer or killers, and we WILL find them. We will not give up in our pursuit of justice for the victims and their families.
President Joe Biden also denounced the attacks, stating that he was “angry and saddened” by them.
As we wait for a thorough investigation, Biden posted on Twitter, “My prayers are with the families of the victims, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community.
The police presence in the city is now being increased at mosques, schools with a Muslim affiliation, and the University of New Mexico.
“Albuquerque is on edge right now, and I want to be clear that we and our law enforcement partners are devoting every resource we have to these cases. We’ll defend our neighborhood and apprehend those responsible for these crimes. Without reservation, we condemn these senseless killings and stand with the Muslim community against all forms of intolerance and violence “Keller stated.
In a briefing over the weekend, Keller stated, “We have heard from the community that the dread is so high that there is a concern about even things like groceries and getting meals for specific people in certain regions of town. “Anyone who needs a meal who is affected by this tragedy will be provided with one for as long as we need,” said the elder affairs and community safety departments.
Muslim organizations both locally and nationally have been advising citizens to exercise caution.
The Islamic Center of New Mexico said on Facebook, “We ask everyone to take measures and be aware of their surroundings, including making sure that you are not being followed home and avoiding wandering alone at night.” This is particularly true for our members who reside in the southeast region of the city, the location of these deaths.
The center claimed that even though there is no proof that their mosque is being targeted, it is nonetheless taking steps to increase security.
“Muslims in Albuquerque risk losing their lives. The perpetrator of this awful, cruel shooting spree must be found and stopped “said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, national deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Council, which described the string of killings as a “horrific, vile shooting spree,” said that it is offering a $10,000 prize for information that will result in the capture and conviction of those involved.