Aug. 23 (UPI) — Authorities in New Mexico said a man accused of killing two Muslim men has been indicted on a third murder charge in connection to a series of shootings in the city of Albuquerque that have left four people dead in recent months and its Muslim community scared.
A grand jury on Monday indicted Muhammad Syed, 51, on three counts of first-degree murder for fatally shooting 25-year-old Naeem Hussain on Aug. 5, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzalla Hussain on Aug. 1 and 41-year-old Aftab Hussein on July 26.
A fourth Muslim man was killed on Nov. 7, for which the Albuquerque Police Department said Syed “is considered the prime suspect.”
“Our homicide detectives continue to work with prosecutors to ensure all victims receive justice in this tragic case,” APD Chief Harold Medina said in a statement Monday.
Syed was arrested Aug. 9 and charged with the murders of Muhammad Hussain and Hussein following a search for a gray Volkswagen sedan seen fleeing the scene where Naeem Hussain was shot.
Authorities said Monday that bullet casings found at the murder scenes connected Syed to the deaths of Muhammad Hussain and Hussein as a search of his home also produced firearms used in those shootings.
Police have also accused Syed with fatally shooting Naeem Hussain who was sitting the behind the wheel of his white 4-Runner in the parking lot of the Lutheran Family Services Center where he drove the night of Aug. 5 after attending the burial services for Muhammad Hussain and Hussein earlier in the day.
The indictment announced Monday also indicts Syed on four counts of tampering with evidence.
UPI has contacted the Albuquerque Police Department for further comment.
Syed has denied responsibility for the killings and while the motive behind the shooting remains unknown police have previously stated that they believe the victims knew one another “to some extent” and that “an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings.”
The suspect’s son, Shaheen Syed, has also been accused of lying on an application to purchase guns in the city last year, and was ordered by a judge last week to be held in jail while awaiting trial.
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