Possible Serial Killer Guilty of Albuquerque Murder

Muhammed Syed found guilty in first of 3 killings that shook city's Muslim community
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2022 6:24 PM CDT
Updated Mar 18, 2024 3:15 PM CDT
Suspect in Albuquerque Killings Was on His Way to Texas
This photo released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 by the Albuquerque Police Department shows Muhammad Syed.   (Albuquerque Police Department via AP)
UPDATE Mar 18, 2024 3:15 PM CDT

Muhammad Syed, a 53-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, has been found guilty of the July 2022 murder of 41-year-old Aftab Hussein, one of three killings in 10 days that shook Albuquerque's Muslim community. Syed has been charged with the two other murders and could face two more trials, the Albuquerque Journal reports. He is also a suspect in a 2021 murder. Prosecutors said Syed ambushed Hussein and shot him multiple times outside an apartment complex, but no motive was identified. "As best we can tell, this could be a case of a serial killer where there's a motive known only to them and not something that we can really understand," said Deputy DA David Waymire, per the AP.

Aug 10, 2022 6:24 PM CDT

The suspect charged with killing two Muslim men in Albuquerque and suspected of killing two more was on his way to Texas when he was arrested, police say. According to a criminal complaint, 51-year-old Muhammed Syed was around halfway between Albuquerque and the state line when police stopped his car Monday night, the New York Times reports. According to the compaint, Syed said he was going to look for a place in Houston for his family to live because things were "bad" in Albuquerque. Police said evidence including a handgun and a spent bullet casing was found in his car.

Police said they received a tip about Syed and were about to search his home when they saw him drive away in a vehicle they believe was linked to the killings, reports the AP. He was arrested around 100 miles away. Syed is a Muslim and Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, said police are looking at the possibility that he is a Sunni Muslim angered by his daughter's marriage to a Shiite Muslim, the Times reports. Aneela Abad, general secretary at the Islamic center, said relations between the state's Islamic communities are warm. "Our Shiite community has always been there for us and we, Sunnis, have always been there for them," she said.

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Syed arrived in the US from Afghanistan five or six years ago, police say. According to the criminal complaint, he told officers he had fought with special forces against the Taliban. The Albuquerque Journal reports that one of his sons was arrested Wednesday. According to a federal criminal complaint, Shaheen Syed listed an address in Florida when he bought two guns at a store in Albuquerque, but the resident told ATF agents he had never lived there. Shaheen Syed told investigators he had lived in Albuquerque since 2016, according to the complaint. (More Albuquerque stories.)

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