ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — Police say the killing of a Muslim man Friday night in Albuquerque may be linked to the ambush deaths of three Muslim men over the past nine months in New Mexico’s largest city.
Police said on Saturday the victim of the latest murder was a South Asian Muslim believed to be in his 20s. The man, whose identity has yet to be confirmed by investigators, was found dead after police received a call of a shooting.
Earlier this week, police confirmed that local detectives and federal law enforcement officers were looking for possible links between the separate crimes. Two of the men – Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41 – were killed last week, and both were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque. The third case concerns the murder in November of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim of South Asian origin.
“There is reason to believe that this death is related to these shootings,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said Saturday at a press conference.
Police declined to say whether Friday night’s murder was committed in a manner similar to other deaths.
Authorities say they cannot yet say whether the shootings were hate crimes until they identify a suspect and can determine a motive.
The murders came as Albuquerque is on the verge of another record year for homicides.
“Our community has been devastated, as you can imagine,” said Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “We’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s really a surreal moment for us.
A $15,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest.
The Associated Press