Four Muslim men have been gunned down since November 2021 in New Mexico and now authorities are investigating whether the killings are connected, KRQE-TV reports. The most recent shooting occurred on Friday evening when a “young man who is part of the Muslim community was murdered,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina told journalists on Saturday at a news conference. The victim was later identified as Naeem Hussain, who had attended funerals for two of the murdered men earlier in the day on Friday, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Hussain was attacked in the parking lot of a group that helped asylum seekers and refugees and reportedly ambushed like the other men, according to the television station. “Now, people are beginning to panic,” Tahir Gauba, public affairs director of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told the newspaper. Earlier in the week, authorities said it appeared the three previous victims were attacked because of their religion and/or race. Local, state and federal authorities, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, are working on the case. “The targeted killings of Muslim residents of Albuquerque is deeply angering and wholly intolerable,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “I am sending additional State Police officers to Albuquerque to work in close coordination with APD and the FBI to bring the killer or killers to justice – and they WILL be found.” Investigators have determined that two of the victims attended the same mosque and that there is a “strong possibility” their murders were linked to a shooting in November of an immigrant from Afghanistan. Police have identified the three previous victims. On Monday, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was fatally shot outside of his apartment complex; Hussain was the planning director for the city of Espanola. On July 26, 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was found dead with gunshot wounds near the city’s international district. And on November 7, 2021, 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi was shot in a halal supermarket parking lot. Ahmad Assed, who leads the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told KRQE-TV that the city’s Muslim community is on edge. “Our community has been devastated, as you can imagine. We have never gone through anything like this,” Assed told the television station. “This is really a surreal time for us.” A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the killings. To report information, call Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP (7867).
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[Featured image: Muhammad Afzaal Hussain/City of Española]