The son of Muhammad Syed, the man suspected of killing four Muslim men between November 2021 and August of this year, was ordered to be kept in federal custody for allegedly making false statements to investigators regarding his father’s case.
Judge John Robbenhaar determined there was enough evidence to hold Shaheen Syed in federal custody, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Scott Howell said during a detention hearing in the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday.
Prosecutors noted that the 21-year-old man was “a flight risk and a grave danger to the community” in the motion to detain filed last Friday.
It also alleged that Shaheen Syed was dishonest when asked about whether he participated in the shooting, whether he bought the guns with his father and whether he was present in the suspected car, a Volkswagen Jetta, during the purchase.
Although he claimed during questioning that he was not in the vehicle, investigators learned that the man and his father picked up a pistol and a rifle at a gun store in Albuquerque on July 15. Authorities later found the guns at the defendant’s home after the police executed a search warrant.
“Defendant’s propensity for dishonesty should undermine the Court’s confidence that he will be forthright with any probation officer tasked with supervising him on any form of pretrial release,” the court documents said.
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Documents filed on Friday also contained evidence gathered by prosecutors, including cell tower data of both the father and son tying the younger Syed to the murder of Naeem Hussain, 25, on Aug. 5.
The documents claim that Syed allegedly had “short and frequent communications with his father both before and after the murder of Naeem Hussain.”
“Telephone calls between Muhammad Atif Syed and the defendant would be consistent with quick surveillance calls, both before and after the shooting,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “And there appears to be no logical reason for the defendant to have just happened to have been in the vicinity of the murder scene so shortly after Mr. Hussain was murdered.”
While testifying on Monday, FBI Special Agent Sean MacManus claimed Shaheen Syed was in the vicinity of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, the place where Naeem Hussain was shot, on Aug. 5 when his phone was connected to his father’s.
Shaheen Syed, also known as Maiwand Syed, was arrested on Tuesday while already in custody and was charged in a separate case for providing a false address when purchasing a gun in Florida in June 2021.
Investigators learned that the residence Shaheen Syed listed as vacant between March 2020 and May 2021 was actually occupied by a Russian couple, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) special agent Brenton Hutson testified.
Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Aug. 8. He was charged with the July 26 murder of 41-year-old Aftab Hussein and the Aug. 1 killing of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27. The older Syed was also named the “primary suspect” for the murder of Naeem Hussain and Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, on Nov. 7, 2021. Two of the victims, Aftab and Muhammad, were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.