ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The man named as the prime suspect in the murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque is facing new charges. According to online court records, Muhammed Syed, 51, has been indicted on three counts of first degree murder, tied to killings of Aftab Hussein, 41; Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; and Naeem Hussain, 25.
The latest filing was made in Bernalillo County District Court Monday afternoon. Previously, Syed had only faced charges in two of the four murder cases.
The latest filing wraps in a new murder charge tied to the August 5 killing of Naeem Hussain. Prosecutors say newly obtained cell phone evidence helped prosecutors file charges related to Hussain’s murder.
A 25-year-old Afghanistan man who moved to Albuquerque from Indonesia in 2016, Hussain worked as a truck driver. Police say he was shot to death while sitting in his car in the parking lot of Lutheran Family Services on Truman off San Mateo, just north of Central Avenue.
According to APD, friends of N. Hussain said he attended burial services for the two other Muslim victims, Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, in the afternoon of August 5. N. Hussain later drove on his own to the Lutheran Family Services Center parking lot, where he was killed.
From that parking lot, police were able to obtain surveillance video of a gray Volkswagen sedan fleeing the shooting scene. That video would later be instrumental in helping police identify Syed, who owned the car. Syed was arrested on Monday, August 8, in Santa Rosa.
Last week, Bernalillo County District Court Judge Joseph Montaño ordered Syed to be held in jail while awaiting trial. Describing the the crimes Syed is alleged to have committed, prosecutors accused Syed of “actively hunting” people in Albuquerque.
While investigators are still looking into a motive for the killings, Albuquerque Police believe Syed “knew the victims to some extent” and that “an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings.” Since November 2021, four Muslim men have been shot to death in Albuquerque. Police suspect that each victim was ambushed.
Story continues below:
- August 4: Police: 3 separate murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque could be related
- August 6: Homicide could be connected to other Muslim shootings
- August 7: APD seeks vehicle of interest in homicide investigation
- August 8: Victim’s brother speaks out as police investigate if Muslim murders are connected
- August 8: Muslims fleeing Albuquerque, Afghan community remembers 4th victim
- August 9: Suspect arrested in murders of Albuquerque Muslim men
- August 10: Police search for motive as community grapples with murder of Muslim men
- August 10: Video: Murder suspect appears to slash tires in parking lot of Albuquerque mosque
Syed has still not been charged in the first of the four connected murder cases. A 62-year-old shop owner, Mohammed Zahir Ahmadi was killed in November 2021. In 2020, a surveillance video captured by the Islamic Center of New Mexico appears to show Syed slashing the tires of the car belonging to the family of Ahmadi.
According to a spokeswoman from the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors “continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate any involvement Mr. Syed might have had with the November 2021 homicide of Mohammad Ahmadi.” APD says he still still considered a “prime suspect” in Ahmadi’s murder.
Along with three counts of first degree murder, Syed is also now facing four counts of tampering with evidence. According to online court records, those counts are all tied to alleged actions on August 5, 2022, the same day Naeem Hussain was murdered.
Muhammad Syed’s son, Shaheen is also facing charges in federal court. S. Syed is accused of using a false address when allegedly purchasing a gun in Albuquerque. Last week, a federal judge ordered S. Syed to be held in jail while awaiting trial.