US: New Mexico authorities investigate killings of 3 Muslim men
- United States
Albuquerque police have confirmed that local detectives and federal law enforcement officers are looking for possible ties among the separate crimes.
Deputy Police Commander Kyle Hartsock wouldn't share specifics, but he said the commonality among the victims is race and religion.
“We are taking this very seriously. We want the public's help in identifying this cowardly individual,” Hartsock said during a news conference on Thursday in front of the Islamic Center of New Mexico.
The governor, Albuquerque's mayor and civil rights groups have raised concerns, saying violence against members of the community based on race or religion will not be tolerated.
Hartsock reiterated that authorities can't say yet if the shootings were hate crimes until they have identified a suspect and can determine a motive.
The killings came as Albuquerque is on pace for another record-setting year of homicides.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Friday offered a USD 5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting deaths. The council is the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation.
“If a bias-motive is determined, state and federal authorities should apply appropriate hate crime charges,” said Nihad Awad, the director of the national group.
The two most recent killings were in southeast Albuquerque. Ahmadi was killed behind the market and cafe he owned with his brother.
''In all three cases, the victims were ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed,” Hartsock said.
“The community certainly is in need of understanding the egregiousness of the conduct displayed in all three of these shootings,” Assed said at a news conference.
“If it's true that we were targeted as Muslims, then they need to be very vigilant in protecting themselves and taking measures of precaution. They need to watch out for their surroundings.”
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)