The killings of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, Aftab Hussein, 41, and Naeem Hussain, 25, all have one commonality: the victims had been all Muslim and of South Asian descent, in keeping with Albuquerque police.
The three most up-to-date killings occurred throughout the span of two weeks, placing town on edge as police probed for potential hyperlinks between the assaults, and put a highlight on an unsolved murder from November 2021.
“Whereas we’re nonetheless sifting by means of all of the proof to search for extra connections, it’s deeply troubling that these three males had been Muslim and of comparable descent,” deputy commander of Albuquerque Police Division’s Felony Investigations Division, Kyle Hartsock, mentioned.
Here is what we all know concerning the killings and the investigation to this point:
How did the killings occur?
After the invention, Albuquerque police mentioned the murder “could also be related” to 3 earlier killings of Muslim males from South Asia.
These three males — Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, Aftab Hussein and Mohammad Ahmadi — had been all “ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed,” Hartsock beforehand mentioned.
Two of them, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, had been each Pakistani males and had been killed in Southeast Albuquerque close to Central Avenue. Police mentioned they “decided there’s a connection” between these two deaths.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was shot and killed on Aug. 1. He was discovered on a sidewalk within the space of Cornell Avenue and Lead Avenue.
Simply days earlier than, on July 26, Aftab Hussein was discovered with obvious gunshot wounds within the 400 block of Rhode Island. He later died on account of his accidents, police mentioned.
As investigators probed the latest killings, they turned their consideration to the Nov. 7, 2021, murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man from Afghanistan who was killed outdoors a enterprise he ran along with his brother on San Mateo Boulevard.
Who’re the victims?
Naeem Hussain migrated as a refugee from Pakistan in 2016 — fleeing persecution as a Shia Muslim — and had simply change into a US citizen final month, in keeping with his brother-in-law, Ehsan Shahalami.
He opened his personal trucking enterprise this 12 months and was described as being a form, beneficiant and hardworking particular person.
The day he was killed, he had attended a funeral for the 2 latest victims and expressed concern concerning the shootings, in keeping with a spokesman with a mosque in Albuquerque.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain labored on the planning group for town of Española. He had studied legislation and human useful resource administration on the College of Punjab in Pakistan earlier than receiving each grasp’s and bachelor levels in group and regional planning from the College of New Mexico, in keeping with a information launch from the mayor.
“Muhammad was soft-spoken and type, and fast to chortle,” Mayor John Ramon Vigil mentioned in a information launch final Wednesday. “He was well-respected and popular with his coworkers and members of the group.”
Few particulars have been launched concerning the two different victims. Police mentioned Mohammad Ahmadi was a Muslim man from Afghanistan and Aftab Hussein was a Muslim man from Pakistan.
The place does the investigation stand?
Police mentioned the automobile “is suspected as getting used as a conveyance in latest homicides of 4 Muslim males.”
“We have now a really, very robust lead. We have now a automobile of curiosity … we have now received to search out this automobile,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller mentioned. “We do not know at this level what it’s related to, or who owns it.”
Whereas police haven’t definitively mentioned all 4 assaults are related, they’ve mentioned they’re trying into whether or not it’s the case.
“There’s one robust commonality in all of the victims; the race and faith,” Hartsock mentioned in a Thursday briefing.
How are native and nationwide leaders responding?
After Friday’s killing, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced Saturday she is going to ship extra state police to Albuquerque.
“I’m angered and saddened that that is occurring in New Mexico, a spot that prides itself on range of tradition and thought. This isn’t who we’re,” Grisham mentioned in a press release. “We won’t cease in our pursuit of justice for the victims and their households and are bringing each useful resource to bear to apprehend the killer or killers — and we WILL discover them.”
The assaults have additionally drawn condemnation from President Joe Biden, who mentioned he was “angered and saddened” by the assaults.
“Whereas we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ households, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim group,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
The town is now rising police presence at mosques, Muslim-affiliated colleges and the College of New Mexico.
“Albuquerque is on edge proper now, and I need to be clear that we, and our companions throughout legislation enforcement, are directing each potential useful resource to those circumstances. We are going to defend our group and convey the perpetrator of those crimes to justice. We unequivocally denounce these mindless killings and stand with our Muslim group in opposition to intolerance and violence in each type,” mentioned Keller.
“We have now heard from the group that the concern is so robust, there’s a concern about even issues like groceries and getting meals for sure people in sure areas of city,” Keller mentioned in a weekend briefing. “Our senior affairs division and our group security division goes to be offering meals so long as we’d like, to anybody who wants a meal who’s affected by this tragedy.”
In the meantime, native and nationwide Muslim teams have been warning residents to be cautious.
“We urge everybody to take precautions and concentrate on your environment together with ensuring that you’re not being adopted house and keep away from strolling alone at evening,” Islamic Middle of New Mexico posted on Fb. “That is very true for our members dwelling within the southeast a part of town the place these killings have taken place.”
The middle mentioned whereas there isn’t a proof its mosque is being focused, it’s nonetheless taking steps to offer extra safety measures.
The Council is providing a $10,000 reward for info resulting in an arrest and conviction of these accountable, the group introduced, calling the sequence of killings a “horrific, hateful taking pictures spree.”
CNN’s Claudia Dominguez and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.