Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are asking the public for help in locating a dark-colored sedan suspected of being linked to the murders of several Muslim men who were ambushed and shot in several incidents.
At a news conference on Sunday, the Albuquerque Police Department asked anyone with information about a dark-colored four-door Volkswagen, possibly a Jetta or Passat, with tinted windows with possible damage to contact police as soon as possible.
Mayor Tim Keller said police believe the vehicle was used Friday night murder of an unidentified Muslim man in Albuquerque.
“We’ve learned something about what happened, we’ve had some clues,” Keller told reporters on Sunday. “We have a strong lead, an interesting vehicle. We don’t know what it is related to or who it belongs to.”
Friday’s murder would be linked to three previous murders of Muslim men in an ambush, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
“As with the previous three murders we mentioned on Thursday, there is reason to believe that this death is related to those shootings,” Medina said.
According to the Albuquerque Journal27-year-old Muhammed Afzaal Hussein was shot dead on August 1, while Aftab Hussein, 41, was killed on July 26. Both were from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.
Their deaths followed the November 2021 murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim man of South Asian descent. Ahmadi was murdered behind a market and cafe he owned with his brother.
The Albuquerque Police Department had previously said there was a “high probability” that all three previous murders were related, according to the Journal.
On Saturday, the Albuquerque Police Department created a public portal where anyone can upload videos or photos that could lead to answers related to the string of murders of Muslim men in the area over the past nine months. Police have not confirmed whether the lead on the vehicle came from the portal.
The series of murders has shaken the Muslim community in Albuquerque. Police said on Sunday it was too early to know whether the murders would be classified as hate crimes.
President Joe Biden tweeted on Sunday morning he was upset by the murders and expressed his condolences to the bereaved families.
“I am angry and saddened by the horrific murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Mr Biden tweeted. “While we await a full investigation, I pray with the families of the victims, and my government stands firmly behind the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also tweeted she was “deeply disturbed” by the killings and said the White House is supporting the Muslim community as police continue their investigation.
“I am deeply disturbed by the murder of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Harris tweeted. “As law enforcement officers continue to investigate these horrific attacks, we remain clear that we stand with the Muslim community in New Mexico and around our country. There is no place for hatred in America.”
On Saturday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“This tragedy affects not only the Muslim community, but all Americans,” CAIR director Nihad Awad said in a statement on Saturday. “We must unite against hatred and violence, regardless of the race, creed or background of the victims or perpetrators. We urge anyone with information about these crimes to contact the police.”