New Mexico’s Muslim community reels from arrest in killings – Kansas City, Missouri

Date:

Kansas City, Missouri 2022-08-10 20:57:24 –

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After the shooting of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, fears of an attack that rippled through Muslim communities across the country led to the murder suspects accusing them of Shock and grief replaced it when it turned out to be one of its own.

Muhammad Saeed, 51, was arrested late Monday after traffic stopped more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from his home in Albuquerque. Afghan migrants have denied a link to the crimes that have rocked the city and its small Muslim community.

In fact, in court documents, he told police he was so nervous about the killing that he drove to Houston to find a new home for his family, including his six children.

But investigators said they had enough evidence to prove him guilty but have yet to reveal a motive for the ambush-style killing. It happened three times until last Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, police found that the bullet casings found in Sayid’s car matched the caliber of the weapon believed to have been used in the two killings, and that the shells found at the crime scene were found in Sayid’s home and his home. We determined it was related to the gun found in the home. vehicle.

Of the more than 200 pieces of information police received, officials said it was from the Muslim community that led to the Saeed family, who knew the victims and said that “the interpersonal confrontation had taken place.” It may have led to the shooting,” he said.

News of Syed’s arrest stunned Albuquerque Muslims.

Community organizer and Islamic Center of New Mexico. “I don’t want these heinous crimes to be committed in any way that divides the community,” she said.

Salim Ansari, president of the New Mexico Afghan Association, said he was relieved by the news of the arrest. However, since he had known Sayid through his social gatherings, he was stunned to learn of the charges against him, and was particularly taken back because court documents showed three domestic violence cases against men.

“We didn’t know,” he said.

Ansari said he first met Saeed and his family in 2020 when he was invited to their home in 2020 to talk about the local Afghan community and the group he leads. The couple eventually joined the society as members. Ansari said last month Said and his family brought food and attended a potluck gathering.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said.

On Wednesday, Syed appeared in court for the first time during a virtual arraignment. He was shackled and wearing a jumpsuit with “HIGH RISK” written across his back. His case has been transferred to state district court, and a judge is expected to consider prosecutors’ motions to keep him without bail pending trial.

“He is a very dangerous person and the only way to protect the community is to keep him in custody,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Said asked permission to speak through an interpreter, but his attorney asked the court not to take any statements from him.

Syed has lived in the US for about five years. Said said in a detective interview that he served in Afghan special forces and fought the Taliban, according to a criminal complaint filed late Tuesday.

Police said they saw him driving away in a Volkswagen Jetta while attempting to search Said’s Albuquerque home on Monday.

In the complaint, authorities said a 9mm handgun was seized from his vehicle and an AK-47 style rifle and a pistol with the same caliber were found during a raid. Syed bought a rifle and his son Shaheen Syed bought a pistol at a local gun shop.

On Wednesday, Shaheen Syed was indicted by federal prosecutors for providing a false Florida address when purchasing two rifles last year. He has denied any role in the killings and no charges have been filed in connection with them.He and another brother were questioned by police on Monday.

The first of the four shot dead was 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, an immigrant from Afghanistan. His 25-year-old Naeem Hussain from Pakistan was murdered last Friday. His death came days after Muhammad Afzar Hussein, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, who were also from Pakistan and were members of the same mosque.

Ehsan Chahalmi, Naeem Hussain’s brother-in-law, said he was “a generous, kind, giving, forgiving and loving soul that has been stolen from us forever.”

Investigators believe Saeed is the prime suspect in the deaths of Naeem Hussein and Ahmadi, but no charges have yet been filed in those cases. Albuquerque police said Wednesday that homicide investigators would not rush a case as long as a suspect is in custody.

Police say they are investigating many possible motives. Deputy police commander Kyle Hartsock at a news conference on Tuesday when asked if Muhammad Saeed, a Sunni Muslim, was upset that his daughter married a Shiite Muslim. did not answer directly. “It’s still being fully investigated to understand what the motives are,” he said.

CNN interviewed Saeed’s daughter shortly before Said’s arrest was announced. Her husband was friends with two of her murdered men. She also admitted that while her father was initially upset about their 2018 marriage, she’s been more accepting lately.

“My father is not a killer,” the woman told CNN. “My father always talked about peace. That’s why we’re here in America. We’re from Afghanistan, from fighting and shooting.”

In 2017, Saeed’s daughter’s boyfriend reported to police that Saeed, his wife and one of his sons had dragged him out of the car and beat and kicked him, according to court documents. The boyfriend, who found her nosebleed, scratches and bruises, told police he was attacked because he didn’t want a relationship with her.

According to court documents, Saeed was arrested in May 2018 after a fight with his wife turned violent. Prosecutors said both cases were later dismissed because the victims refused to press charges.Syed was also arrested in 2020 for ignoring traffic lights and refusing to stop police. The case was ultimately dismissed, court documents say.

Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole said Albuquerque police did not classify him as a serial killer, but said the crimes Saeed allegedly committed fit the definition of a serial killer. He said serial killers often have red flags, such as past domestic violence or sexual assault, that preceded their killings.

“People don’t wake up one morning and just become serial killers,” she said. “We went back and looked at other crimes that were happening in the area before the serial killers happened, because there’s a period when they have to practice using violence. And , that practice can begin at home.”

O’Toole said the motives behind the four murders may vary depending on the victim. O’Toole first said he wanted to know what caused the three people to be murdered in quick succession eight months later.

“This behavior that we see in this case is cold-blooded, pre-considered, and actually involves hunting behavior to hunt humans, and is probably as ruthless as possible,” she said. .

___

Dazio reported from Los Angeles and Pham from Winter Park, Florida. His Associated Press correspondent Robert Jablon from Los Angeles and researchers Rhonda Shafner and Jennifer Farrar from New York contributed to the report.

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AP’s religious coverage is supported through a partnership between AP and The Conversation US with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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