Suspect charged in third slaying - Albuquerque Journal

Suspect charged in third slaying

Muhammad Atif Syed (2nd Judicial District Court)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A grand jury has indicted Muhammad Atif Syed on three counts of first-degree murder in a series of shootings that rattled Albuquerque's Muslim community and drew international media attention.

The grand jury indictment – made public Monday – added a third count of first-degree murder charging Syed in the Aug. 5 shooting death of Naeem Hussein, 25.

Syed, 51, had initially been arrested Aug. 9 on two open counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Aftab Hussein, 41, on July 26, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, on Aug. 1.

A grand jury on Friday issued an indictment containing three counts of first-degree murder and four counts of tampering with evidence in connection with the three shooting deaths, 2nd Judicial District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lauren Rodriguez said Monday.

Police and prosecutors say they are continuing their investigation into the Nov. 7, 2021, shooting death of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a fourth Muslim man Syed is suspected of killing.

“Our homicide detectives continue to work with prosecutors to ensure all victims receive justice in this tragic case,” Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said Monday in a statement.

Ahmadi was killed behind a halal market he owned with his brother.

Syed was arrested while driving east on Interstate 40 toward Texas. A SWAT team searched his Southeast Albuquerque apartment and police say they found the gun that fired the bullets that killed Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.

Rodriguez said an analysis of cellphone records provided key evidence to charge Syed with the third count of first-degree murder.

A district judge last week ordered Syed to remain in custody while he awaits trial.

Syed's attorneys did not immediately respond on Monday to messages seeking comment.

“In the time between the arrest warrant for the homicides of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, and the convening of the Grand Jury Friday, additional evidence deriving from cellphones came to light enabling us to present the homicide of Naeem Hussain to the Grand Jury,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

Naeem Hussain was shot to death Aug. 5 after he attended funeral services at the Islamic Center of New Mexico for Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.

APD investigators allege Syed shot Naeem Hussain as he sat in the driver's seat of his white 4-Runner in the parking lot of Lutheran Family Services in the 200 block of Truman NE.

Authorities say Syed followed Naeem Hussain in his Volkswagan Jetta from the Islamic Center of New Mexico after the funeral services.

Detectives also obtained surveillance video that showed a gray Jetta sedan fleeing the scene of Naeem Hussain's killing after the fatal shooting, police said.

APD released a photo of the Jetta on Aug. 8 and received tips that Syed owned the car.

After Syed's Aug. 9 arrest, detectives used bullet casings found at the scene of Naeem Hussain's shooting to link him to that killing, police said.

Ballistics tests showed that an AK-style rifle found in Syed's home and a 9mm pistol found in his car were linked to the killings of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.

Syed's son, Shaheen Syed, 21, faces federal charges for allegedly providing a false address when he bought a gun in June 2021. A federal magistrate last week ordered Shaheen Syed held in custody while he awaits trial. Federal prosecutors wrote in a motion to detain Shaheed Syed that cellphone records suggest he may have helped his father surveil Naeem Hussain the day of his shooting death. But no charges have been filed against Shaheen Syed in connection with any of the killings.

At Shaheen Syed's detention hearing, an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent testified that the father and son together went to an Albuquerque gun store to pick up two AK-style weapons that were both found in the Syed home.

One of those weapons, a 7.62-caliber rifle found under Muhammad Syed's bed, was shown by firearms testing to be the same used in the killings of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, federal prosecutors allege.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Muhammad Syed charged with a third killing


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
No limit: Channel Tres brings tour to Electric Playhouse
ABQnews Seeker
The creative process is one that ... The creative process is one that intrigues Channel Tres. 'I'm always creating and making sure family is good,' he says. 'Creating and writing is ...
2
APD investigating fatal stabbing
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal ... Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal stabbing on Sunday afternoon. Officers were called to the area of Kathryn and Maderia SE on a reported ...
3
Gov. pledges $1.1M for film school, studio in Raton
ABQnews Seeker
The film industry continues to grow ... The film industry continues to grow in New Mexico. It's always been a goal to have film facilities in every point of the state. ...
4
Longer sentences have failed to reduce violent crime
ABQnews Seeker
Spiro Agnew, who served as vice ... Spiro Agnew, who served as vice president under Richard Nixon, memorably denounced the administration's enemies for their 'pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of ...
5
Outdoor rec projects receive $2M+ in state funding
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico Economic Development Department's ... The New Mexico Economic Development Department's Outdoor Recreation Division handed out more than $2 million to 20 projects statewide through its Outdoor Recreation Trails+ ...
6
Rain or shine, students fight for normalcy
ABQnews Seeker
Homecoming returns after years of pandemic ... Homecoming returns after years of pandemic impacts
7
NM to be part of 'clean freight corridor'
ABQnews Seeker
Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout ... Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout Southwest
8
Judge was a 'very generous and caring person'
ABQnews Seeker
Friends and colleagues describe Judge James ... Friends and colleagues describe Judge James A. Parker as a gentleman
9
Climate-fueled wildfires worsen dangers for struggling fish
ABQnews Seeker
A summer-long mission comes to a ... A summer-long mission comes to a quick end as cutthroat trout rescued earlier this year are released into new digs