Albuquerque Police Detained a Suspect in Murder of Four Muslim Men: NPR

Albuquerque Deputy Chief of Police Cecily Barker caught a flyer with pictures of a car wanted in connection with the murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, NM on Sunday.

Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal ap. Through

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Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal ap. Through

Albuquerque Deputy Chief of Police Cecily Barker caught a flyer with pictures of a car wanted in connection with the murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, NM on Sunday.

Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal ap. Through

Albuquerque Police Say They Have Detained “Primary Suspect” murder of four muslim men In the largest city of New Mexico.

Police Chief Harold Medina on Tuesday Announced the update on Twitter. The killings have sent waves of fear through Islamic communities in New Mexico and beyond and fueled a race to find out who was responsible.

“We traced the vehicle involved in the recent murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque. The driver has been taken into custody and is our primary suspect in the murders,” the tweet said.

No other information was immediately available. Police say they will provide an update on Tuesday afternoon.

Naeem Hussain was killed on Friday night, and three others were killed in the ambush.

Hussain, 25, was a resident of Pakistan. He died a few days after Muhammad Afzal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussain, 41, who were also from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.

The first is the murder of 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi from Afghanistan in November.

officials on Monday Asked for help in finding a vehicle which was discovered on Tuesday. Officials said common elements in the deaths were the race and religion of the victims, and police in Albuquerque are trying to determine whether the deaths are linked.

Debbie Almontesar, the leader of the Muslim community in New York, said a female friend who lives in Michigan and wore the hijab she shared with her over the weekend was upset. “He’s like, ‘This is so scary. I’m so scared. I travel alone,'” Almontesar said.

Aneela Abad, general secretary of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, described a community battered by the killings, its grief heightened by confusion and fear of what might happen next.

“We are completely shocked and still trying to understand and understand what happened, how and why,” she said.

Some people have avoided going out unless it is “absolutely necessary” and some Muslim university students are wondering if it is safe for them to live in the city, she said. The Center has also increased its security.

Police said the same vehicle is suspected to have been used in all four murders – a dark gray or silver four-door Volkswagen with what appears to be a Jetta or Passat with darkened windows. Officials released photos hoping people could help identify the car and offered $20,000 reward For information leading to the arrest.

Investigators did not say where the photos were taken or what led them to suspect the car was involved in the murders. Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said in an email Monday that the agency had received suggestions about the car but did not provide details.

“We have a very, very strong relationship,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said on Sunday. “We have a vehicle of interest … we have to find this vehicle.”

Gallegos said he could not comment on what type of gun was used in the shooting, or whether police know how many suspects were involved in the violence.

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and saddened” by the killings and that his administration “stands firmly with the Muslim community.”

“These hateful attacks have no place in America,” Biden said in a tweet on Sunday,

Conversations about security have also dominated WhatsApp and the email groups that Almontesar is on.

“What we have seen in New Mexico is very exciting to us as a Muslim minority community in the United States that has experienced a lot of backlash and discrimination since the 9/11 attacks,” he said. “it’s scary.”

Few anti-Muslim hate crimes have been reported in Albuquerque in the past five years FBI data quoted by Brian LevineDirector of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism and professor of criminal justice at California State University in San Bernardino.

From 2017 to 2020, there was one anti-Muslim hate crime in one year. The most recent numbers were in 2016, when Albuquerque police registered six of a total of 25 hate crimes.

Levine said it largely tracks with national trends, which hit the lowest numbers in a decade in 2020, with only a dozen cities and states growing 45% in 2021.

Albuquerque officials say they cannot determine whether the killings were a hate crime until they have identified a suspect and a motive.

Louis Schlesinger, a professor of forensic psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said bias murders are often committed by a small group of people, usually young white people. A lone offender is rare.

“These are basically total losers from every dimension, whether it’s social, economic, psychological, what have you,” he said. “They are full of hatred for one reason or the other and target a particular group, whom they see in their mind, to blame for all their problems in life.”

It was not clear whether the victims knew their attacker or the attackers.

The most recent victim was found dead after police received a call to shoot. Officials declined to say whether the murder was committed at the same time as the other deaths.

Muhammad Afzal Hussain acted as a regional organizer for a local Congress women’s campaign.

Democratic Rep. Melanie Stansbury issued a statement praising him She is known as “one of the kindest and most hardworking people” ever. She said the urban planner was “committed to making our public spaces work for every person and cleaning up heritage pollution.”

As land-use director for the city of Espaola – more than 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Albuquerque – Hussein worked to improve conditions and inclusivity for disadvantaged minorities, The mayor’s office said.

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