The deaths of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whose killings are now believed to be linked, have caused a panic among members of the local Muslim community.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; Aftab Hussein, 41; and Naeem Hussain, 25, were killed within a span of two weeks, while Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, died in a shooting back in November 2021.
Aftab and Muhammad, who were both from Pakistan and members of the same mosque, were fatally shot on July 26 and August 1, respectively.
On Friday, Nayeem was also shot and killed after attending a funeral for the two recent victims.
Investigations on the recent killings led authorities back to the homicide of Mohammad Ahmadi, who was killed outside his business on San Mateo Boulevard on Nov. 7, 2021.
On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the killings, writing on Twitter that “these hateful attacks have no place in America”.
“I am angered and saddened,” the president wrote in his recent tweet. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my administration stands strongly with the Muslim community.”
Albuquerque Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham shared that a detachment of state police is being sent to reinforce local authorities and FBI agents working “to bring the killer or killers to justice.”
Albuquerque police have started investigating links between the four killings, which all involved victims who are of Muslim and South Asian descent.
They announced Sunday that they were on the lookout for a vehicle that they suspected was linked to the crimes: a dark gray or silver four-door Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta, with tinted windows.
As the murders remain unsolved, many members of the local Muslim community are opting to stay indoors. Officials from the Islamic Center of New Mexico in Albuquerque have also asked students to be on guard at all times.
“While we are still sifting through all the evidence to look for more connections, it is deeply troubling that these three men were Muslim and of similar descent,” said Albuquerque Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock.
To speed up the investigation, the local Crime Stoppers Board has increased the reward for any relevant information that could lead to an arrest to $20,000.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are also offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths of the three men.
Investigators created an online portal where residents can upload relevant videos and images which might help with their investigation.