Police in Albuquerque say they’ve caught a man they called a “prime suspect” in the killing of a Muslim man in the city, who is potentially tied to the slayings of three others since last November.
The details are short, at this point, with the suspect’s identity not released as of late Tuesday afternoon. But Albuquerque Police Chief Herold Medina tweeted that his department had tracked down a car they believed was connected to the killings—a Volkswagen painted in a dark color—and arrested the man driving it.
Last Friday, 25-year-old Naeem Hussein was found shot to death in a neighborhood in southwest Albuquerque after people in the community reported gunshots. On Aug. 1, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was killed in the same general vicinity, similarly to Aftab Hussein, 41. The Washington Post reported that those two men were both originally from Pakistan and had attended the same Albuquerque mosque.
In November, 62-year-old Afghanistan native Mohammad Ahmadi was also shot and killed in the city. Police said all the men had been ambushed and shot. They believed their religion and ethnicities may have made them targets, a suspicion that sowed fear throughout Albuquerque’s Muslim communities.
Aneela Abad, general secretary at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, described a community reeling from the killings, its grief compounded by confusion and fear of what may follow.
“We are just completely shocked and still trying to comprehend and understand what happened, how and why,” she said.
Some people have avoided going out unless “absolutely necessary,” and some Muslim university students have been wondering whether it is safe for them to stay in the city, she said. The center has also beefed up its security.
Police planned a news conference for late Tuesday.