ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The son of the man charged in the murders of two Albuquerque Muslim men will stay locked up while awaiting trial in for federal gun charges. Shaheen Syed is accused of lying on an application he filled out to buy two guns in Albuquerque in 2021.
Albuquerque Police have accused Syed’s father, 51-year-old Muhammed Syed, in the July 26 shooting of Aftab Hussein and the August 1 shooting of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. Investigators in part found bullet casings at those two shooting scenes that matches casings from guns recovered from M Syed’s possession.
The elder Syed was arrested last Monday, August 8 roughly 115 miles east of Albuquerque in Santa Rosa, near the state’s border with Texas. Two days after M. Syed’s arrest, his son, Shaheen was taken into custody in the federal case.
Prosecutors made arguments Monday that Shaheen Syed should be held in jail which awaiting trial in the federal court system. The so-called detention hearing lasted roughly three hours, featuring testimony from an ATF agent.
On the witness stand, the agent highlighted how S. Syed had drivers licenses from both the state of New Mexico and the state of Florida. Investigators believe S. Syed used the Florida address to buy two weapons from an Albuquerque gun store in 2021. However, based on an admission from S. Syed, investigators say he never lived at the Florida address he claimed as his residence.
Investigators also spent a significant portion of Monday’s hearing trying to tie Shaheen Syed to his father and the four murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque. While the elder M. Syed is accused in two murder cases, APD says he is thought to be the suspect in all four cases, taking place across November 2021, July 2022 and August.
“Right now, we’re only charging one person, but evidence – we’re gonna follow the evidence,” said Kyle Hartsock in a news conference announcing M. Syed’s arrest last Tuesday. “If the evidence leads us to someone else and charges – we’ll be happy to file them with the DA’s office.”
Investigators say they’ve obtained surveillance video from August 1 showing Shaheen and Muhammed Syed walking into a firearms store with an AK-47 type-rifle that was spray-painted white. At that store, the Syeds are said to have purchased a scope.
Six hours after the purchase of the scope, authorities believe that rifle seen in surveillance video was used in the murder of Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, the third victim in the case, killed on August 1. In that case, prosecutors say 15 shots were fired from two guns. Investigators are still trying to determine if there were two shooters in the August 1 crime.
Prosecutors also brought in a cell phone tracking specialist with the FBI to testify at Monday’s hearing. That investigator gave testimony focusing on the August 5 murder of Naeem Hussain, the fourth victim in the shootings.
The investigator testified to traffic surveillance video footage near the memorial service of two of the four murder victims. That video shows a Volkswagen Jetta leaving the memorial service which Naeem Hussain also attended. Investigators believe the Jetta belonged to the Syed family.
The investigator who testified Monday said that cell phone tower data shows Shaheen Syed’s phone pinged the tower in the area of the memorial service. Investigators also say records show Shaheen called his father at 3:39 p.m.
Investigators believe Naeem Hussain left the memorial service at 3:41 p.m. Muhammed Syed is said to have called Shaheen between 4:06 p.m. and 4:08 p.m. from near the murder scene. Hussain was reportedly murdered at 4:04 p.m.
At the conclusion of Monday’s hearing, a federal judge cited evidence that Shaheen is violent and was not truthful with authorities as the main reasons he should be kept in custody. When ruling that Syed should stay behind bars, the federal judge also pointed to an incident last year. In that incident, investigators say S. Syed was driving a car when his brother Adil fired 11 rounds at someone in the parking lot of the Walmart near Zuni and San Mateo. No one was charged in that crime.
So far, the ATF doesn’t believe the two guns Shaheen Syed fraudulently bought were used in any of the four murders.