A man in custody on suspicion of killing two Muslim men in Albuquerque has been charged with the murder of a third man, authorities announced Monday.
Muhammad Syed, 51, now faces murder charges in the case of three of four fatal shootings of South Asian men that rattled the city’s Muslim community.
Syed was charged earlier this month with the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein, 41, and August 1 killing of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27.
He is now accused of killing Naeem Hussain, 25, who was shot as he sat in the driver’s seat of his white 4-Runner in a parking lot in the city on August 5, Albuquerque police said in a news release. He had earlier in the day attended the funeral services for Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, the police said.
Syed’s also been charged with four counts of tampering with evidence, according to the indictment.
CNN reached out to Syed’s attorney but has not heard back.
The latest murder charge comes after detectives found surveillance video showing a gray Volkswagen sedan “fleeing the scene” following Naeem Hussain’s shooting, according to the release.
It added that Syed is also “considered the prime suspect” in the killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, which happened on November 7, 2021.
“Our homicide detectives continue to work with prosecutors to ensure all victims receive justice in this tragic case,” Albuquerque police chief Harold Medina said in the release.
Syed denied involvement in the killings during an interview with police earlier this month, according to an arrest affidavit.
He was arrested on August 9 after tips from the public led police and FBI agents to him, authorities said. He was stopped by police while driving a Volkswagan Jetta near Santa Rosa, New Mexico, more than 100 miles east of Albuquerque.
During a search of his home, authorities found firearms, as well as information showing Syed may have known the victims “to some extent” and that interpersonal conflict may have led to the killings, police said while announcing his arrest.
One of the firearms recovered was linked to bullet casings found at the scenes of the killings of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, while casings for a handgun found in his car when he was stopped were linked to one of the scenes, according to the arrest affidavit.
Aftab Hussein was found with multiple gunshot wounds, lying next to a car, according to police. Detectives learned the gunman had waited behind a bush near the driveway where the victim usually parked and fired multiple times through the bush, according to a criminal complaint.
Days later, officers responded to reports of a drive-by shooting and found Muhammud Afzaal Hussain with multiple gunshot wounds, the complaint states.
A judge ruled Wednesday that Syed must remain in custody as he awaits trial.
A judge has also ruled that Syed’s son, Shaheen Syed, should remain in federal custody on a charge tied to his father’s case.
The younger Syed is accused of knowingly making false statements to investigators about the weapons and vehicle alleged to have been used in at least two of the killings. His attorney, John C. Anderson, called the allegations that his client could be tied to the killings “exceedingly thin and speculative.”