Son of Afghan alleged gunman in New Mexico killings of Muslim men possibly assisted murder plot: feds


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Federal prosecutors in New Mexico are now alleging that the son of the man arrested in connection to the killings of four Muslim men around Albuquerque may have helped his father with the murders.   

The FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department on Aug. 9 arrested 51-year-old Muhammad Syed. So far, he is charged with the murders of two Muslim men from Pakistan – the July 26 shooting of 41-year-old Aftab Hussein, as well as the Aug. 1 shooting of 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. 

Court documents allege Syed committed regular acts of violence in the six years since he fled the war in Afghanistan and resettled in the U.S. 

Authorities said he also is considered the primary suspect in the shooting death of 25-year-old Naeem Hussain gunned down outside a refugee services center in Albuquerque on Aug. 5, as well as the Nov. 7, 2021, slaying of 62-year-old Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi outside his family’s halal shop.  

ALBUQUERQUE POLICE RELEASE BODY CAM VIDEO OF MAN SUSPECTED OF MURDERING MUSLIM MEN BEING ARRESTED 

Shaheen Syed, 21, pictured in a 2021 Florida driver’s license photo included in court documents. 
(U.S. District Court )

In the days since his father’s arrest, Syed’s son, 21-year-old Shaheen Syed – previously known as Maiwand Syed, has been taken into federal custody and charged with providing a false address when he purchased a gun in June 2021, The Albuquerque Journal reported. 

The younger Syed is accused of falsely claiming he was a Florida resident while making the purchase at an Albuquerque gun store. 

In a motion to detain the younger Syed filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, prosecutors described him as a “serial liar” and a flight risk, citing cell phone records suggesting the 21-year-old assisted his father in surveilling Naeem Hussain, who was eventually shot to death while sitting in his SUV outside of Lutheran Family Services. 

This photo released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by the Albuquerque Police Department shows Muhammad Syed, 51, who was taken into custody Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in connection with the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. 

This photo released Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, by the Albuquerque Police Department shows Muhammad Syed, 51, who was taken into custody Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in connection with the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. 
(Albuquerque Police Department via AP, File)

Authorities believed the elder Syed followed Naeem Hussain from the Islamic Center of New Mexico following funeral services for Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. The father and son allegedly spoke on the phone both before and after the shooting, with their cells pinging in the “general area of the murder,” according to the motion. 

The motion also includes prior police reports about the younger Syed allegedly beating his father and 16-year-old sister. 

This Aug. 9, 2020, still image taken from officer video provided by the Albuquerque Police Department shows the arrest of Muhammad Syed. 

This Aug. 9, 2020, still image taken from officer video provided by the Albuquerque Police Department shows the arrest of Muhammad Syed. 
(Albuquerque Police Department via AP, File)

The younger Syed apparently had an outstanding warrant for that domestic violence-related incident. The motion also cited police reports suggesting the younger Syed and his brother, Adil, were allegedly involved in another shooting outside a Walmart.  

Shaheen Syed’s attorney, John Anderson, filed a response to the motion on Saturday, countering that the so-called evidence cited by prosecutors allegedly tying his client to the death of Naeem Hussain is “exceedingly thin and speculative,” according to the Journal. 

This undated photo released by the City of Española shows Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, a planning and land use director who was killed in Albuquerque, N.M., on Aug. 1, 2022. Hussain is one of four victims in a series of killings of Muslim men in New Mexico's largest city as the deaths sent ripples of fear through the religious community nationwide. 

This undated photo released by the City of Española shows Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, a planning and land use director who was killed in Albuquerque, N.M., on Aug. 1, 2022. Hussain is one of four victims in a series of killings of Muslim men in New Mexico’s largest city as the deaths sent ripples of fear through the religious community nationwide. 
(City of Española via AP, File)

Anderson’s motion also claims that the younger Syed never received a summons for the domestic violence incident and includes a photo of a Florida driver’s license issued to Shaheen Syed in 2021. 

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“If either the United States or the State of New Mexico has enough evidence to charge [Shaheen Syed] with a more serious crime, it is certainly at liberty to do so,” Anderson wrote. “But in the absence of evidence sufficient even to charge [Shaheen Syed] with involvement in those murders, he cannot be detained on that basis.”



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