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“Primary suspect” detained after murders of 4 Muslim men in Albuquerque, police chief says

The primary suspect in the murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque has been detained, police chief Harold Medina tweeted Tuesday. Four Muslim men have been killed in the area over the past several months, and authorities have said their deaths may be linked.

“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.”

The suspect was not immediately identified.

The unidentified fourth victim was murdered Friday night. Police on Saturday said they were looking for a dark-colored, four-door Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta or a Passat, with tinted windows and possible damage.

Mayor Tim Keller said police believe the vehicle was used in the Friday night killing.

“We’ve learned some about what’s happened, we’ve had some leads,” Keller told reporters Sunday. “We have a strong lead, a vehicle of interest. We don’t know what it’s associated with or who owns it.”

Friday night’s killing was likely connected to the three previous ambush-style shooting murders of Muslim men, Medina said Saturday.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, 27-year-old Muhammed Afzaal Hussain was shot and killed on Aug. 1, while 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was killed on July 26. Both were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.

Their deaths followed the Nov. 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim man of South Asian descent. Ahmadi was killed behind a market and cafe he owned with his brother.

The string of murders has shaken the Muslim community in Albuquerque. Police on Sunday said it was too soon to know if the murders would be classified as hate crimes.

On Saturday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Authorities are expected to provide an update on the case Tuesday afternoon.

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