Get the Latest News Updates

An Afghan man has been arrested in connection with the killings that shocked New Mexico’s Muslims.

A Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan has been apprehended as the primary suspect in the murders of four Muslim males in New Mexico’s largest city, authorities announced on Tuesday.

Police said on Tuesday that they had arrested 51-year-old Muhammad Syed, one of the city’s immigrant Muslims, after days of beefing up security around Albuquerque-area mosques in an effort to calm worries of a gunman motivated by anti-Muslim hatred.

Authorities believe the killings were motivated by a personal vendetta, potentially with intra-Muslim sectarian connotations.The four fatalities were all of Afghan or Pakistani origin. Three were killed in November, and one in the previous two weeks.

A search of the suspect’s residence in Albuquerque turned up “evidence that implies the perpetrator knew the victims to some extent, and an inter-personal quarrel may have led to the shootings,” according to a police statement announcing the arrest.

Investigators are still piecing together motives for the four men’s deaths, said Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock at a news conference.

In answer to reporters’ questioning, Hartsock stated that the suspect’s sectarianism toward his fellow Muslim victims may have played a factor in the violence. “But we’re not sure if that was the true purpose, if that was part of a motive, or if there’s just a wider picture that we’re missing,” he explained.

Syed has a history of criminal misdemeanours in the United States, including an instance of domestic abuse, according to Hartsock. Scores of public tips were credited by police with assisting authorities in locating a car that detectives suspected was used in at least one of the killings and ultimately locating the man they dubbed their “main suspect” in all four slayings.

Syed was formally charged with two homicides: those of Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, who were killed on July 26 and August 1, respectively, according to Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina.

ayeem Hussain, 25, a truck driver who became a US citizen on July 8, was killed on Friday, only hours after attending the burial of two men of Pakistani heritage who were killed in July and August.

The three most recent casualties were all worshippers in Albuquerque’s largest mosque, the Islamic Center of New Mexico. They were all shot in southeastern Albuquerque, around Central Avenue.

Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, an Afghan native, was slain on November 7, 2021, while enjoying a cigarette outside a grocery store and cafe he co-owned with his brother in the city’s northeastern outskirts.