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Police arrest suspect in recent murders of Muslim men

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
The driver was detained and is now the primary suspect for these murders

The Albuquerque Police Department, along with FBI agents arrested 51-year-old Muhammad Syed late Monday night and now consider him to be the primary suspect in the recent murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque.

Syed, who is originally from Afghanistan, was arrested outside of Santa Rosa. He was heading east on Interstate 40, toward Texas.

Federal, state, and local officials and law enforcement officers held a press conference Tuesday afternoon at APD headquarters to announce that they had changed Syed with two of the four recent homicides, that of July 26th murder of Aftab Hussein and the August 1st murder of Muhammad Afzaa Hussian.

According to reporting done by the Albuquerque Journal, bullet casings found at the two scenes were likely fired by the same gun. That gun was found by investigators, as they executed a search warrant on Syed’s home.

Moments before detectives were able to serve that warrant at the home, Syed got into a vehicle, the same one law enforcement officials shared over the weekend as a “vehicle of interest”, and started driving towards Santa Rosa. Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock described the chase and arrest of Syed.

“It was not a high speed chase, it was a traffic stop that occured off the I-40 exit in Santa Rosa with state police, Albuquerque Police Department and the FBI assisting.”

When asked if police were tailing Syed the entire drive, Hartsock said he wasn’t going to get into the details of the arrest. Law enforcement officials credited the Muslim community and the tips they received as key to this arrest. 

District Attorney Raúl Torrez said while the arrest is cause for celebration, there is still much work ahead.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
District Attorney Raúl Torrez speaks about the pursuit of justice for these victim's families

“It is really just the beginning of the journey towards securing justice and my commitment to you is to work on behalf of your family and all the other victims of this crime, so that we can secure justice and that will not be done until we secure a conviction and successful prosecution.”

Attorney Ahmad Assed, who serves as the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico said the words and actions of law enforcement officials over the course of this investigation and arrest almost brought him to tears. He said the community is humbled by the commitment shown.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Ahmad Assed, who serves as the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico expresses his gratitude towards law enforcement officials

“We’re humbled with everybody’s commitment, I can’t express enough the gratitude I have for my community. From the bottom of my heart, on behalf of all the family members of the ones we lost and we still mourn, we will not ever forget and we’re hopeful that we have no further losses in our community.”

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the department is currently working with the 2nd Judicial District Attorney Office on charing Syed with the other two murders.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.