Authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, announced Saturday a fourth Muslim man was killed overnight and there is “reason to believe” his death is related to three other recent killings of Muslim men.
“These shootings are disturbing,” Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said in a Saturday news conference. “We are putting every possible resource into these investigations.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigation, the police department said in a news release.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also said on Twitter that she was sending additional state police officers to the city to work with local and federal authorities to bring “the killer or killers to justice – and they WILL be found.”
“The targeted killings of Muslim residents of Albuquerque is deeply angering and wholly intolerable,” the governor tweeted. “We will continue to do everything we can to support to the Muslim community of Albuquerque and greater New Mexico during this difficult time. You are New Mexicans, you are welcomed here, and we stand with you.”
Albuquerque police officers responded just before midnight Friday to reports of a shooting in the area of Truman St. and Grand Ave., and found the victim dead, according to the police department’s news release. The victim, a Muslim man believed to be in his mid-20s, was from South Asia, police said. His identity has not been positively confirmed, the release added.
The man’s death came a day after authorities determined there was a connection between the killings of Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, both Muslim and from Pakistan, who were killed in southeast Albuquerque within the past two weeks. Detectives are working to determine whether the November killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man from Afghanistan, was also related. Ahmadi was killed outside of a business he ran with his brother, police said.
The victims in the first three cases were all “ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed,” Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of the police department’s Criminal Investigations Division, previously said.
“Our top priority is keeping the community safe and we are asking the Muslim community especially, to be vigilant, to watch out for one another. If you see something, say something,” the police chief said Saturday. “Evil will not prevail.”
There is a $15,000 reward for information that helps lead to an arrest, authorities announced.
“Albuquerque is on edge right now, and I want to be clear that we, and our partners across law enforcement, are directing every possible resource to these cases,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement. “We will protect our community and bring the perpetrator of these crimes to justice.”
In a news release on Saturday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it was raising its reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible to $10,000.
“The lives of Albuquerque Muslims are in danger. Whoever is responsible for this horrific, hateful shooting spree must be identified and stopped – now,” CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement.
“We thank local, state and federal law enforcement for their ongoing work on this crisis, and we call the Biden administration to ensure that authorities all of the resources needed to both protect the Albuquerque Muslim community and stop those responsible for these horrific crimes before they claim more innocent lives,” Mitchell added in the statement.