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Police in New Mexico are stepping up security at Albuquerque-area mosques and Muslim community schools as investigators hunt for the suspect who gunned down four Muslim men over the past nine months.
Just days after the most recent murder of a Muslim man rocked a community already on edge, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said the City is extending its police efforts beyond the investigation into the slayings and person or people behind them. The Albuquerque Police Department will be increasing its “police presence near mosques and Muslim affiliate schools,” Keller wrote on Twitter.
The City will also be working with the police departments serving the University of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public School system, working to ensure students are safely returning to their respective campuses, Keller wrote.
Four men — all from South Asia and all of whom practice the Muslim faith — have been ambushed, shot and killed since November 2021, police have said.
Tuesday marked four days since police received word of their most recent murder. Naeem Hussain, a Muslim man from Pakistan, was discovered fatally wounded in the area of Truman Street and Grand Avenue just before midnight on Friday, police said.
On Aug. 1, the third victim, local city planner Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was gunned down, police said. And before then, 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was fatally wounded on July 26, 2022.
Both men were killed near Central Avenue in southeast Albuquerque, police said. Both were also Muslim and from Pakistan.
The first incident was reported on Nov. 7, 2021, when 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi was discovered shot and killed in the rear parking lot of a halal café he owned with his brother on San Mateo Boulevard, according to city officials and local affiliate KRQE-TV. Ahmadi was from Afghanistan, police said.
A spokesperson for the Islamic Center of New Mexico did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. But Aneela Abad, general secretary for the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told The Associated Press the community is grappling not only with the losses, but also the fear and confusion.
“We are just completely shocked,” she said, “and still trying to comprehend and understand what happened, how and why.”
On Sunday, the Albuquerque Police Department released images of a vehicle that they believe to have been used for transport in the four murders. The car in question, a four-door dark gray or silver-colored Volkswagen sedan, bears tinted windows and is possibly a Jetta.
Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to a suspect, and urged anyone with information related to the killings to call Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP (7867) or submit tips here.