Albuquerque, New Mexico, police are asking for the public’s help in locating a dark-colored sedan suspected to be connected to the murders of several Muslim men who were ambushed and shot in separate incidents.
At a news conference Sunday, Albuquerque police asked anyone with information about a dark-colored, four-door Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta or Passat, with tinted windows with possible damage to contact police “as soon as possible.”
Mayor Tim Keller said police believe the vehicle was used Friday nightof an unidentified Muslim man in Albuquerque.
“We’ve learned some of what happened, we’ve had some evidence,” Keller told reporters on Sunday. “We have a strong lead, a vehicle of interest. We don’t know what it’s connected to or who owns it.”
Friday’s killing is believed to be connected to three previous ambush shootings of Muslim men, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
“As with the three previous murders we reported on Thursday, there is reason to believe this death is related to these shootings,” Medina said.
According to Albuquerque Journal27-year-old Muhammed Afzaal Hussain was shot and killed on 1 August, while 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was killed on 26 July. Both were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.
Their deaths followed the November 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim of South Asian descent. Ahmadi was killed behind a market and cafe he owned with his brother.
Albuquerque police had previously said there was a “strong possibility” that all three previous homicides were related, according to the Journal.
On Saturday, the Albuquerque Police Department created one public portal where anyone can upload videos or photos that can lead to answers about the spate of killings of Muslim men in the area over the past nine months. Police have not confirmed whether the lead in the vehicle came from the gate.
The string of murders has shaken the Muslim community in Albuquerque. Police on Sunday said it was too early to know whether the killings would be classified as hate crimes.
President Joe Biden he tweeted on Sunday morning that he was upset by the killings and offered his condolences to the families affected.
“I am angry and saddened by the horrific murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Mr Biden tweeted. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the families of the victims and my administration strongly supports the Muslim community. These hate attacks have no place in America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris too he tweeted that she was “deeply disturbed” by the killings and said the White House stands with the Muslim community as police continue their investigation.
“I am deeply disturbed by the murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Harris tweeted. “As law enforcement continues to investigate these heinous attacks, we remain clear that we stand with the Muslim community in New Mexico and across our country. Hate has no place in America.”
On Saturday the Council on American-Islamic Relations was announced $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“This tragedy affects not only the Muslim community — but all Americans,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement Saturday. “We must be united against hate and violence, regardless of the race, creed or background of the victims or perpetrators. We urge anyone with information about these crimes to contact law enforcement.”