The horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have sparked great fear in the Islamic community of the United States. On Tuesday, the police announced that the alleged perpetrator had been apprehended. Their prime suspect, Mohammad Syed, also identifies as a Muslim.
Since the unsolved homicide of Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi in November 2021, the brutal murder of four men was linked to Mohammad Syed. Syed is suspected of killing at least two of the victims.
The victims had one thing in common: all Muslims of South Asian origin. The three most recent murders occurred within two weeks and caused an uproar in the city. Aftab Hussain was murdered on July 26. A week after this incident, on August 1, a person named Mohammad Afzaal Hussain was also killed. The third murder of Naeem Hussain took place on August 5. All of the victims were killed in "ambush-style shootings."
Syed has protested his innocence. According to court documents, the 51-year-old testified to the investigators that he had nothing to do with the crimes.
Syed is known to law enforcement, as the police had been called for numerous domestic violence incidents, but the family ultimately backtracked their statements, and the cases were dropped.
Police received a tip from a member of the Albuquerque Muslim community that led to Syed and his family. Authorities noted that Syed knew the victims, and "an interpersonal conflict" between them may have led to the shootings. According to reports, Syed, a Sunni Muslim, was upset about his daughter's marriage to a Shia Muslim.
Syed was arrested after the authorities secured a search warrant. At his home, several guns were found. Bullet casings found in Syed's car matched the caliber of the weapon used to kill Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.
Authorities noted that he owns a gray Volkswagen Jetta in which he was trying to escape. The car is linked with at least one of the deaths.
Prosecutors requested that he be held in custody with no prospect of bail. They said Syed "is a very dangerous person, and the only way to protect the community is to hold the defendant in custody."
When interrogated, Syed said he has lived in the United States for around five years. He stated that he had fought as part of a special unit against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Samia Assed, a community organizer and member of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, was utterly shocked. She said that "these heinous crimes to be in any way, in any capacity used to divide a community."
Before Syed was arrested as the alleged suspect, the Turkish government condemned the killings as "hate crimes" against the Muslim minority of the United States. The foreign ministry demanded that perpetrators of these serial murders "be found immediately and brought to justice."
— Turkish MFA (@MFATurkiye) August 8, 2022
President Joe Biden tweeted that he is "angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims' families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America."
I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community.
These hateful attacks have no place in America.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 7, 2022