ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Islamic community in Albuquerque remains on edge after four Muslim men were murdered in a matter of months. Police believe the cases could be connected.
This past weekend marked eight months since Mohmmad Zahir Ahmadi was shot and killed right behind the market and cafe he ran with his brother. Sharief Hadi, Ahmadi’s brother, opens their market and cafe off San Mateo every day. And every day, he’s haunted by what happened last November.
“I have to go through it every day, every minute,” said Hadi. It was November 7, 2021, when Ahmadi was fatally shot behind the store. Hadi said he was the one who had to clean up blood from the scene.
“My lovely brother,” said Hadi, while breaking into tears. “He has a good heart. He has a clean heart. He helps everybody.”
Hadi said he and his brother originally fled Afghanistan to escape the violence. “When we came to the United States we thought we were safe. Look what’s going on right now,” said Hadi.
Now, the Albuquerque Police Department and the FBI are investigating whether Ahmadi’s death is related to the murders of three other Muslim men in Albuquerque in the last two weeks. Police have said most of the killings have a similar ‘ambush’ approach but didn’t elaborate on other similarities when asked.
“There are several things in common in all four of the homicides and we’re digging back and looking at any other crimes that might fit this particular pattern. But to publish those kinds of details might be wrong and secondly might hurt the investigation,” said Gilbert Gallegos, spokesperson for APD.
Law enforcement is now asking for the public’s help to find a dark grey or silver Volkswagen, that appears to be a Jetta. They said it may be involved in the killings. Law enforcement said they have leads, but no one is in custody yet.
“I’m going to find who, that murdered, to kill my brother. I’m waiting for that,” said Hadi. He said since his brother’s murder, he carries a gun and has added more cameras to his businesses. While some in the Islamic community leave Albuquerque, Hadi said he won’t leave his brother, who is buried next to a mosque in town.
“I don’t want to leave him alone,” he said. “I have to cry every day about him. Is this the life, is that? This is happiness? No.”
APD has set up a specific website for the investigations into these murders. There, people can read about the cases and submit any tips they may have. There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
On Monday the University of New Mexico also had a safety forum with APD, FBI, and the Islamic Center of New Mexico to update the campus community on the investigations and safety protocols in place.