Albuquerque police said they have arrested the “primary suspect” in the murders of four Muslim men that have shaken New Mexico’s largest city in recent weeks.
The name of the suspect, who’d been on the run in a silver sedan, was not immediately released by police. A news conference with more details is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The men killed were identified as Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, Aftab Hussein, 41, and Naeem Hussain, 25.
Since police announced they believed the slayings were connected, Albuquerque’s muslim community has been in a state of “panic, hopelessness and fear,” Ahmad Assed, president of the city’s largest mosque, told The Daily Beast on Monday.
Assed said his community was scared to be near windows or go outdoors, with some deciding to flee New Mexico entirely. The level of fear he felt was unprecedented, he said, not even matched by a significant uptick in anti-Muslim crime after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
“To experience something as atrocious and as horrific as what we’ve experience the past few weeks is just mind-boggling,” Assed said. “It feels like we’re in a parallel universe.”
The first of the four homicides was in November, authorities said, when Ahmadi was gunned down outside a market and cafe he operated with his brother.
A second killing in the apparent spree came on July 26, when Aftab Hussein was gunned down outside of his apartment.
Days later, Afzaal was also shot dead outside of his apartment just blocks from the University of New Mexico, where he attended graduate school. His older brother, Imtiaz, said he’d stepped outside to make a phone call before he was ambushed on Aug. 1.
The final of the four victims, Naeem Hussain, was killed on Aug. 5 just hours after he attended a funeral service for Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein.
As police connected the four murders to a single suspect, authorities released a photo of a silver sedan they believed was driven by the suspect. On Tuesday, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina posted to Twitter just before 1 p.m. local time that the car had been found.
“We tracked down the vehicle believed to be involved in a recent murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque,” Medina wrote. “The driver was detained and he is our primary suspect for the murders. We will update the media later this afternoon.”
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