Police in Albuquerque announced on Tuesday that a 51-year-old man named Muhammad Syed has been charged in the recent killings of two Muslim men.
Authorities said Syed, who came to the U.S. from Afghanistan five years ago, is also suspected in two additional slayings of Muslim men. The four victims all attended the same mosque, the Islamic Center of New Mexico, and their deaths rattled Albuquerque's Muslim community. Three of the killings happened within the last two weeks.
Syed was taken into custody on Monday, after law enforcement tracked down a car believed to have been involved in at least one of the killings. In a statement, Albuquerque Police said detectives "discovered evidence that shows the offender knew the victims to some extent, and an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings."
Syed has been charged in the killings of Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, with police saying they found bullet casings at the crime scenes connected to a gun discovered at Syed's home. Authorities said Syed is also the prime suspect in the killings of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, and Naeem Hussain, 25. Syed is Muslim, and The Associated Press reports that "police are investigating whether Sunni-Shiite tensions fueled Syed's violence or if he was motivated by other ideas."