Hundreds of tips helped police identify and charge 'primary suspect' in killings of Muslim men, police say. Now they're searching for motive - CNN
Aug 11, 2022 2 mins, 22 secs

Police said that the first three victims -- Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi, 62, killed November 7; Aftab Hussein, 41, killed July 26; and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, killed August 1 -- were "ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed." A fourth man, 25-year-old Naeem Hussain, was shot and killed Friday after attending a funeral for Hussein and Hussain.

A criminal complaint police filed in the case Tuesday sheds more light on two of the killings.

On July 26, police responded to Rhode Island Street, where they found Aftab Hussein with multiple gunshot wounds, lying next to a car.

Detectives learned that the gunman had waited behind a bush near the driveway where the victim usually parked his vehicle and fired through the bush multiple times when Hussein got out of his vehicle, according to the complaint.

On August 1, police got a call about a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Cornell Drive and Garfield Avenue.

They found Muhammad Afzaal Hussain with multiple gunshot wounds, the complaint reads.

The suspect, Syed, is being charged with the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein and the August 1 killing of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, police said.

As for the other two killings, there is evidence "strong enough that" authorities view Syed as the "most likely person of interest or suspect" in those as well, Hartsock said.

Syed denied any involvement in the killings during an interview with police on Tuesday, according to the complaint.

How the investigation unfolded

Police first noticed similarities between the deaths of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, which took place days apart.

Police sifting through the footage found video that captured gunshots and vehicles leaving the scene, according to Hartsock.

A tip from the community eventually came in that led investigators to identify Syed as a suspect and track down the car.

Albuquerque police and the FBI got multiple tips about Syed and his vehicle, a Volkswagen Jetta, according to the complaint.

As police were waiting to execute a search warrant at the suspect's Albuquerque home Monday night, they saw him get into what they believed to be the same vehicle that had been linked to the homicides.

Those purchases included a 9mm pistol bought on January 28, 2021, a scope for an AK-47 bought on August 1, and 7.62x39 caliber pistol and rifle bought on July 15, according to the complaint.

The document also notes that both 7.62x39 and 9mm "were the two calibers of weapon used in the above-mentioned homicides."

While searching the Jetta, police said they found a 9mm casing between the windshield and the hood of the car, and two 7.62x39 casings inside the vehicle, in addition to a 9mm handgun.

The 9mm casing found in the windshield matched with a casing found at the August 1 crime scene, according to the complaint.

Syed previously had "a few minor misdemeanor arrests (from the Albuquerque Police Department) from domestic violence" and some other incidents, Hartsock said.

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