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Local and federal law enforcement agencies in New Mexico are investigating whether the murders of three Muslim victims over the past few months are related, according to a locally affiliated report.
The Albuquerque Police Department and the local FBI field office announced on Thursday that three murders, including one dating back to November 2021, may be related to “one strong similarity to the victims: race and religion,” said Kyle Hartsock, deputy deputy. commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Albuquerque Police Department, according to KRQE News 13.
The first incident was reported in early November 2021, when Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, was found shot to death in the rear 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 near Copper Avenue and Rhode Island Street in late July 2022, KRQE reported. And on Monday, the third victim, local city planner Muhammed Afzaal, was reportedly shot while walking near Cornell Drive and Coal Avenue.
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Harstock said police have so far found no connection between the trio of shootings and it is too early to say whether the men were victims of hate crimes, the report said. No motive has been identified.
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“We take this very seriously and we want the public’s help in identifying this cowardly individual,” Harstock reportedly continued, “who in all three cases ambushed their victims, firing shots without warning and kill them.”