Potential Serial Killer On The Loose In Albuquerque After Murder Of Four Muslim Men

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News & Politics
Sarah Guy

Albuquerque, New Mexico, remains on high alert after four Muslim men were murdered over the course of the past year. Due to the targeted nature of the killings and communities among the victims, authorities have started to lean into the possibility that a serial killer is behind the string of crimes. With new information continuing to come to light, here's what we know so far.

Who Were The Victims?

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While the killings of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, Aftab Hussein, 41, and Naeem Hussain, 25, vary due to age, there are commonalities that link the murders together. According to Albuquerque police, each of the men was Muslim and of South Asian descent.

Naeem Hussain arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Pakistan in 2016. He later opened his own trucking business. Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, who worked on the planning team for the city of Española, had received both his master's and bachelor's degrees in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico. At this time, few details have been released about Mohammad Ahmadi and Aftab Hussein. Hussain and Hussein also attended the same mosque.

At a recent press conference, Michelle Melendez of the Office of Equity and Inclusion stated that they cannot "denounce strongly enough what appears to be the targeting of people because of their race and religion."

Similar Methods

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While the murders have been spread out over the course of the past year, officials noted that the method in which each slaying occurred was noticeably similar. In each case, the targeted man was ambushed. According to Albuquerque Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division, Kyle Hartsock, each victim was attacked "with no warning, fired on and killed."

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, both Pakistani men, were killed in Southeast Albuquerque near Central Avenue. Police have now confirmed that there is a connection between the two crimes. Aftab Hussein was found with apparent gunshot injuries on July 26, followed by Muhammad Afzaal Hussain on Aug. 1.

Police Presence

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Due to the similarities, Albuquerque Police Department (APD), along with the FBI and other jurisdictions, have taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to solve the murders. This includes increasing patrols in certain areas of the city, adding command posts, and undertaking additional measures.

Working On Suspect Identification

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Despite the apparent links between the victims, police have yet to announce that they are viewing the attacks as hate crimes. Many suspects that they will not reveal a true motive until the person responsible is behind bars. However, the belief continues to permeate that the slayings were racially driven.

As for a potential profile of the person behind the crimes, officials have not released a suspect description at this time. However, a "vehicle of interest" has been discussed. According to the APD, the car is a dark gray or silver Volkswagen sedan with four doors and tinted windows. It also appears to be a Jetta. At this time, it remains unclear who owns the car or how they could be directly connected to the attacks.

Asking For The Public's Help

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With the investigation in full swing, law enforcement officials are asking members of the public to come forward if they have any information that could assist the ongoing efforts. Anyone who has any tips is encouraged to contact the APD, the FBI, or report to Crimestoppers. Information can be submitted through the Albuquerque Metro CrimeStoppers website. At this time, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $10,000 reward that leads to the identification and conviction.

Local and national Muslim groups are continuing to warn residents to stay alert and aware of their surroundings. This includes making sure that you are not being followed home and avoiding walking alone at night.

Read more true crime stories here.

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