Police in Albuquerque are investigating the murders of three Muslim men they believe may be related.
Earlier this week, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, two Pakistani men visiting the same mosque, were fatally shot, police said.
A third Muslim man was killed early Saturday morning, police said. The identity of the latest victim has not been released, although police said he was a “young man”.
Authorities said they believed this week’s violence could also be linked to the November 2021 murder of 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, another Muslim man of South Asian descent, in Albuquerque.
The authorities did not elaborate on why they believed the killings were related and did not say if there were any witnesses to the killings, but they said they believed the Muslim community was the target.
The Albuquerque Police Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, are asking city residents to provide information that may be related to the murders.
“This is something that affects all of us,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez said at a news conference on Saturday. “Every member of this community must stand up.”
Officials at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, still reeling from Friday night’s funeral for Hussain and Hussein, said they were shocked to hear of another death the following morning.
“We are incredibly sick of the idea that anyone has so much hatred for innocent people,” said Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “We are afraid for our families, we are afraid for our children. And we’re incredibly confused as to why this is happening.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Friday it is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the murders.
“We’ve really never seen anything like it where there are multiple similar murders that seem really related,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s national communications director.