US police arrest primary suspect in New Mexico killings

US police arrest primary suspect in New Mexico killings

LOS ANGELES - US police hunting the killer of four Muslim men in a New Mexico city said Tuesday they arrested their primary suspect and charged him with two of the murders.

The killings, three of which occurred in the last couple of weeks, had sent shock waves through the Muslim population in Albuquerque, with community leaders talking of a growing sense of panic.

But on Tuesday, investigators said a public tip had led them to 51-year-old Afghan immigrant Muhammad Syed.

The breakthrough came after detectives had appealed for public help cracking the case, issuing a picture of a car they believed was involved in the killings of the South Asian men.

The Albuquerque police chief Harold Medina wrote on Twitter that he tracked down the vehicle believed to be involved in a recent murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque.

The driver was arrested and he is our primary suspect in the murders. The New York Times cited Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New MexicoIslamic Center of New Mexico, as saying he had been told the suspect was a Sunni Muslim who was angry that his daughter had married a Shiite Muslim.

The two main branches of Islam are Shiite and Sunni. The schism that opened around 1,400 years ago over who should replace Prophet Mohammed continues to affect intra-Muslim relations around the world.

At a press conference, police said they were still investigating the motive.

Tensions rose in Albuquerque after a body was found near an office providing services to refugees on Aug 5th.

The deaths of two men who had died within the last 10 days were a subject to a probe by the police. Syed has been charged with two murders.

A gun believed to have been used in the slayings was found in a police search of his home.

The November death of an Afghan man in the city was also being investigated for a possible connection to the recent killings.

The city's Muslim community was on edge due to the spate of killings.

Tahir Gauba, the director of public affairs with the Islamic Center of New MexicoIslamic Center of New Mexico, told the Albuquerque JournalAlbuquerque Journal that people are beginning to panic.

Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden pledged unity and support.

He said on Twitter that he was angered and saddened by the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque.

My Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community, and my prayers are with the victims' families while we wait for a full investigation.

These hateful attacks have no place in America.