89.9 FM Live From The University Of New Mexico
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Murders of 3 Middle Eastern men in ABQ may be linked

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain
City of Española
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain

Albuquerque Police say that there is a link between two murders of Middle Eastern men over the last ten days, and that a third murder last November may also be related, but they are not ready to call it a hate crime.

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was shot and killed near his home in the neighborhood south of the University of New Mexico Monday night. His death was felt widely, from friends around the world grieving on social media, to Española where he worked in city planning, to Albuquerque where he recently earned a second Master’s degree and served as president of UNM’s Graduate and Professional Student Association.

He became the third Muslim of Middle Eastern descent gunned down in the city in eight months, the second was just a week ago.

APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said there is a connection between the latter two homicides and that similarities with the November 2021 murder of Mohammad Ahmadi has the department looking into whether that killing may also be linked.

“All three of them seem to have been ambushed and shot. No confrontation," Gallegos said. "Most of our murders, we tend to see some kind of confrontation or dispute. That part doesn’t appear to be there.”

Gallegos said the FBI is helping because of the potential of this being a series of hate crimes against Muslims or Middle Easterners.

There’s no indication now that the victims knew each other though they attended the same mosque.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury for which Hussain campaigned, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and officials with UNM released statements expressing grief and outrage at the violent attacks and honoring Hussain's dedication to public service.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP.

Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.