Albuquerque police detained a primary suspect on Tuesday in connection with the murders of four Muslim men.
In the past few weeks, three Muslim men have been shot and killed in Albuquerque, New Mexico on separate occasions. Police and the FBI believe the shootings were connected to another killing in November 2021.
Officials announced earlier this week that they were searching for a grey Volkswagen sedan. On Tuesday, the police found the vehicle and the driver, The Washington Post reports.
According to CBS News, police identified Muhammad Syed, 51, as “primary suspect in the recent murders of Muslim men.” Syed was taken into custody near Santa Rosa, New Mexico, after a tip from the public led authorities to him. He has been charged with murdering Aftab Hussein on July 26, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussian on Aug. 1.
Police say Syed appears to have known the victims.
The Council of American Islamic Relations issued a statement responding to the arrest. They thanked law enforcement for the arrest.
“We hope the news that this violence has been brought to an end will provide the New Mexico Muslim community some sense of relief and security,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a press release.
CAIR said in the press release that the killings may have been fueled by anti-Shia sentiment. It is unclear if law enforcement has confirmed that anti-Shia sentiment is a possible motive.
“Although we are waiting to learn more about these crimes, we are disturbed by early indications that the alleged killer may have been targeting particular members of the Shia community,” Awad said. “If this is true, it is completely unacceptable, and we encourage law enforcement to file any appropriate hate crime charges against the suspect.”
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