Albuquerque police are investigating the murder of three Muslim men who they believe may be related.
Earlier this week, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, two Pakistanis who attended the same mosque, were shot and killed, police said.
A third Muslim was killed early Saturday morning, police said. The identity of the latest victim has not been released, although police said he was a “young man”.
Authorities said they believe this week’s violence may also be linked to the November 2021 killing in Albuquerque of 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, another Muslim of South Asian descent.
Authorities have not explained why they believe the killings may be linked and did not say whether there were any witnesses to the killings, but they said they believe the Muslim community was targeted.
The Albuquerque Police Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, are asking townspeople to provide any information that may be related to the murders.
“It’s something that affects all of us,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez said at a Saturday news conference. “Every member of this community needs to stand up.”
Officials at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, still reeling from the Friday night funeral for Mr. Hussain and Mr. Hussein, said they were shocked to learn of another death the following morning.
“We are incredibly sickened that someone would have so much hatred against innocent people,” said Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “We fear for our families, we fear for our children. And we are incredibly confused as to why this is happening.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Friday it would offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the killings.
“We’ve really never seen anything like this, where there are multiple similar murders that seem really connected,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s national communications director.