ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ahmad Assed, The President of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, pleads with the Muslim community to be on high alert.
“The community certainly is in need of understanding the egregiousness of the conduct displayed in all three of these shootings, and if it’s true that we were targeted as Muslims and they need to be very vigilant in protecting themselves and taking measures of precaution,” Assed said.
This comes after the Albuquerque Police Department and the FBI announced that three murders in the last year may be connected.
“While we won’t go into all the specifics of why we think that, there is one strong commonality with the victims, the race and religion,” Kyle Hartsock, the Deputy Commander of the Criminal Investigation Division for Albuquerque Police said.
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Back in November at the corner of San Mateo and Mountain Road, Mohammad Ahmadi was found dead in a back parking lot of a halal meat market and cafe. Then early last week, officers found Aftab Hussein shot on Rhode Island Street near Copper. Most recently, Muhammed Afzaal, UNM alumni and Espanola city planner was shot and killed while walking near his house Monday night near Cornell and Coal Avenue.
“It is always tragic to have a life cut short by gun violence here or in any community but it is particularly tragic in the instance of Muhammed Afzaal. By all accounts, he was an extraordinary young man with a very bright future,” Raul Torrez, the District Attorney said.
APD and the FBI said it’s too early to say if these are hate crimes because they don’t have a motive and likely won’t until they find the killer. But so far, they have found no connection between the three victims.
“We’re taking this very serious and we want the public’s help in identifying this cowardly individual, who in all three cases ambushed their victims, with no warning fired shots and killed them,” Hartsock said.
Officials are asking for the public’s help to track down the shooter and say no tip is too small. If you know anything involving these cases, you’re asked to contact APD, Crime Stoppers, or the FBI.