ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department announced they would be holding a press conference regarding the recent murders of three Muslim men in Albuquerque. And now, a fourth Muslim man has been killed following a shooting Friday night.
Police say this deadly shooting is extremely similar to the others and believe men of Middle Eastern descent are being targeted. “We can not denounce strongly enough what appears to be the targeting of people because of their race and religion,” said Michelle Melendez of the Office of Equity and Inclusion during the press conference.
APD says Naeem Hussain was ambushed, then shot Friday – just like the other three murders of Muslim men. The first happened back in November, the other three have been within the past two weeks.
Because of the similarities, it’s all hands on deck for APD, the FBI, and other jurisdictions as they work together to figure out who is pulling the trigger. Albuquerque police say they are increasing patrols in certain areas of the city and adding command posts, with multiple divisions and bureaus working this case.
Until the suspect or suspects are caught, the Muslim community is in fear. “Our community has been devastated, as you can imagine. We have never gone through anything like this,” said Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “This is really a surreal time for us.”
Police still cannot say if these are considered hate crimes and probably won’t have that answer until they have a killer behind bars, but they do believe these men were targeted because of their race and religion.
Officials do not have a suspect description but ask the community to be vigilant of suspicious behavior moving forward. Anyone with information is encouraged to call APD, the FBI, or report to Crimestoppers with any information. You can also submit tips HERE to APD’s portal. There is now a $15,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.