The person accused of fatally capturing two Muslim males in Albuquerque has appeared in court docket for the primary time as investigators continued to seek for a motive and probe whether or not he is linked to 2 different killings.
Muhammad Syed, 51, of Albuquerque, is the first suspect within the killings of 4 Muslim males within the metropolis between November and August, in accordance with police.
Syed denied any involvement within the killings throughout an interview with police on Tuesday, in accordance with an arrest affidavit.
Syed was arrested Tuesday following suggestions from the general public, authorities mentioned.
He was stopped by police whereas driving close to Santa Rosa, New Mexico, greater than 160km east of Albuquerque.
One of many firearms recovered has been linked to bullet casings discovered on the scenes of two of the killings, whereas casings for a handgun present in his automotive when he was stopped had been linked to one of many scenes, in accordance with the arrest affidavit.
Syed instructed police “he was driving to Texas to discover a new place for his household to dwell as a result of the state of affairs in Albuquerque was unhealthy,” referring to the killing of Muslim males, the affidavit mentioned.
On Wednesday, he appeared in court docket through video from a detention centre.
By a Pashto interpreter, he requested to deal with the court docket throughout his listening to.
His legal professional Megan Mitsunaga adopted up asking the court docket to not take statements from her consumer.
Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courtroom Decide Renée Torres additionally suggested Syed that remaining silent can be the most effective factor for him to do.
“Sounds good,” Syed mentioned in response.
Syed’s case can be transferred to a district court docket.
He’s being held with out bond within the meantime.
In asserting Syed’s arrest Tuesday, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina mentioned the division is working with the district legal professional’s workplace on potential fees within the deaths of the 2 different males, 62-year-old Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi, killed November 7, and 25-year-old Naeem Hussain, killed August 5 after attending a funeral for the 2 different victims.
There may be proof “robust sufficient that” authorities are persevering with to view Syed because the “almost definitely particular person of curiosity or suspect” in these killings as effectively, Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of town police division’s prison investigation division, mentioned Tuesday.
The killings and the way the investigation unfolded
The killings that Syed is being charged with – of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain – occurred simply days aside and police rapidly linked them after figuring out that casings discovered at each crime scenes had been possible fired from the identical firearm, Hartsock mentioned.
“We rapidly began taking a look at different instances that may very well be related and establish that there is perhaps a extremely lively public menace,” Hartsock added.
That is when police turned their consideration to a distinct unsolved murder within the metropolis: the November 7 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, an Afghan man who was discovered with a gunshot wound within the car parking zone behind the enterprise he ran along with his brother.
All three of the killings concerned Muslim males who had been “ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed,” Hartsock mentioned.
Aftab Hussein was discovered July 26 with a number of gunshot wounds, mendacity subsequent to a automotive, in accordance with police.
Detectives discovered the gunman had waited behind a bush close to the driveway the place the sufferer normally parked his car and fired a number of occasions by the bush, in accordance with the criticism.
Muhammud Afzaal Hussain was discovered on August 1 with a number of gunshot wounds by officers who responded to experiences of a drive-by capturing, the criticism states.
Whereas police had been nonetheless making an attempt to piece collectively whether or not the three killings had been linked, a fourth Muslim man, Naeem Hussain, was shot and killed earlier than midnight on August 5.
The shootings induced panic inside Albuquerque’s Muslim group, whereas additionally triggering a whole bunch of tricks to regulation enforcement, authorities mentioned Tuesday.
Syed is a father of six whose household has been within the US for about six years since shifting from Afghanistan, his daughter instructed CNN.
Hours earlier than police introduced Syed was a suspect, CNN was inside his dwelling Tuesday morning and spoke to his daughter, who supplied perception on her father and what occurred after they final noticed one another, which was earlier than his arrest and earlier than authorities executed a search warrant on their household’s dwelling.
CNN has chosen to not identify the daughter out of concern for her security.
“My father will not be an individual who can kill someone. My father has at all times talked about peace. That is why we’re right here in the US. We got here from Afghanistan, from combating, from capturing,” she instructed CNN.
The daughter instructed CNN she married a person in February 2018, and her father was not pleased with the wedding on the time however had come to simply accept it extra lately.
She mentioned her husband was buddies with two victims, Aftab Hussein and Naeem Hussain.
Syed beforehand had “just a few minor misdemeanour arrests (from the Albuquerque Police Division) from home violence” and another incidents, Hartsock mentioned.
All three earlier home violence fees Syed confronted had been dismissed, Hartsock mentioned.
Authorities had beforehand mentioned Syed’s sons had been questioned and launched as a part of the investigation.
On Wednesday, one of many suspect’s sons, Maiwand Syed, also referred to as Shaheen Syed, was arrested in connection to giving a false handle when buying firearms final summer season.
The serial numbers of the weapons talked about in his father’s arrest warrant and the son’s charging paperwork don’t match and there’s no indication from police that the son’s weapons are linked to the 4 killings.
The son has mentioned he was not concerned within the shootings.