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Local and federal law enforcement in New Mexico are investigating whether the killings of three Muslim victims in recent months are connected, according to a local affiliate report.
The Albuquerque Police Department and local FBI office announced Thursday that three murders, including one from November 2021, may be linked, noting “a strong commonality with the victims: race and religion,” said Kyle Hartsock, deputy. commander of the Albuquerque Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, according to KRQE News 13.
The first incident was reported in early November 2021, when Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, was discovered shot dead in the back parking lot of a halal cafe on the corner of Mountain Road and San Mateo Boulevard in Albuquerque, KRQE reported.
Then, Aftab Hussein was fatally injured in late July 2022, in the Copper Avenue and Rhode Island Street area, KRQE reported. And on Monday, the third victim, local city planner Muhammed Afzaal, was reportedly shot dead as he strolled through the Cornell Drive and Coal Avenue area.
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Harstock said police had so far found no connection between the trio of shootings and called him too soon to say whether the men had been victims of hate crimes, the report said. No motive has been identified.
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“We take this very seriously and want the public’s help in identifying this cowardly individual,” Harstock reportedly continued, “who in all three instances ambushed their victims, without warning, fired shots and killed them”.