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Albuquerque, New Mexico, police are asking the public with help locating a dark colored sedan suspected of being connected to the murders of several Muslim men who were ambushed and shot in seperate incidents.
At a press conference on Sunday, Albuquerque police asked anyone with information regarding a dark colored, four door Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta or a Passat, with tinted windows with possible damage to contact police “as soon as possible.”
Mayor Tim Keller said police believe the vehicle was used in the Friday nightof an unidentified Muslim man in Albuquerque.
“We’ve learned some about whats happened, we’ve had some leads,” Keller told reporters on Sunday. “We have a strong lead, a vehicle of interest. We don’t know what it’s associated with or who owns it.”
Friday’s killing is believed to be linked to three previous ambush-style shooting murders of Muslim men, Albuquerque police chief Harold Medina said at a news briefing Saturday afternoon.
“As with the previous three murders we mentioned on Thursday, there is reason to believe this death is related to those shootings,” Medina said.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, 27-year-old Muhammed Afzaal Hussain was shot and killed on Aug. 1, while 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was killed on July 26. Both were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.
Their deaths followed the Nov. 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim man 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 of the prior homicides were related, according to the Journal.
On Saturday, the Albuquerque Police Department created a public portal where anyone can upload any videos or pictures that can lead to answers regarding the string of murders of Muslim men in the area over the last nine months. Police did not confirm if the lead on the vehicle stemmed from the portal.
The string of murders have shaken up the Muslim community in Albuquerque. Police on Sunday said it was too soon to know if the murders would be classified as hate crimes.
President Joe Biden tweeted on Sunday morning that he was upset by the killings and offered his condolences to the families affected.
“I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also 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 killings 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 around our country. Hate has no place in America.”
On Saturday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“This tragedy is impacting 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, faith or background of the victims or the perpetrators. We urge anyone with information about these crimes to come forward by contacting law enforcement.”