Suspect in New Mexico Muslim killings detained pending trial

Aug 17, 2022, 4:32 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm
FILE - This Aug. 8, 2022, still image taken from officer video provided by the Albuquerque Police D...

FILE - This Aug. 8, 2022, still image taken from officer video provided by the Albuquerque Police Department shows the arrest of Muhammad Syed. The Afghan refugee charged in the shooting deaths of two Muslim men and suspected in the killing of two others will remain behind bars pending trial. A New Mexico district court judge granted a motion by prosecutors during a virtual hearing Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, agreeing that Syed was dangerous and there were no conditions of release that would ensure the community's safety. (Albuquerque Police Department via AP, File)

(Albuquerque Police Department via AP, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Afghan refugee charged in the shooting deaths of two Muslim men and suspected in the killing of two others was ordered held without bond pending trial as prosecutors argued Wednesday that he was a danger to his own family and the greater community.

Prosecutors during a detention hearing pointed to Muhammad Syed’s previous record, which included allegations of domestic violence and a case in which he refused to stop for law enforcement after running a red light. Charges in those cases were eventually dropped, but they argued that Syed’s history showed a pattern of violence.

“The defendant is really incapable of following any sort of lawful orders or incapable of following the law, period,” said John Duran, an assistant district attorney. “The defendant has really no regard for any law. It seems apparent he has further no regard for any human life.”

Syed, 51, has denied any involvement in the killings that shook New Mexico’s Muslim community and his defense attorneys argued that he had no criminal record since the previous cases were not pursued. They also tried to argue that he was not a flight risk and had lived at the same address for two years.

Judge Joseph Montano denied a bid by Syed’s attorneys to have the defendant placed on house arrest, finding that no conditions of release would prevent him from leaving his home or from committing a crime.

The judge also pointed to a criminal complaint that accused Syed of lying in wait for the victims and the ballistic evidence amassed by investigators so far.

“The weight of the evidence here is high,” Montano said.

Syed was arrested Aug. 8 more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from his Albuquerque home. He told authorities he was on his way to Texas, citing the ambush-style killings as his concern.

Police said they received more than 200 tips and one from the Muslim community led them to the Syed family. Syed knew the victims, authorities have said.

Syed is charged with murder in the deaths of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. Hussein, 41, was slain on the night of July 26 after parking his car in the usual spot near his home. Afzaal Hussain, a 27-year-old urban planner who had worked on the campaign of a New Mexico congresswoman, was gunned down on Aug. 1 while taking his evening walk.

Syed is the primary suspect — but hasn’t been charged — in the death of Naeem Hussain, 25, who was shot Aug. 5 in the parking lot of a refugee resettlement agency in southeast Albuquerque, and the slaying of Muhammad Zahir Ahmadi, a 62-year-old Afghan immigrant who was fatally shot in the head last November behind the market he owned in the city.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Albuquerque police, investigators determined that bullet casings found in Muhammad Syed’s vehicle matched the caliber of the weapons believed to have been used in two of the killings and that casings found at the crime scenes were linked to guns found at Syed’s home and in his vehicle.

Federal authorities in court filings have pointed to cell phone records and accused one of Syed’s sons of possibly helping his father track Naeem Hussain before he was killed. Shaheen Syed’s attorney said those accusations are thin and dismissed prosecutors claims that the younger Syed provided a false address when purchasing a gun from a local shop in 2021.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A worker wearing a protective suit administers a COVID-19 test at a coronavirus testing site in Bei...
Associated Press

China’s vast Xinjiang hit with COVID-19 travel restrictions

BEIJING (AP) — Sprawling Xinjiang is the latest Chinese region to be hit with sweeping COVID-19 travel restrictions, as China further ratchets up control measures ahead of a key Communist Party congress later this month. Trains and busses in and out of the region of 22 million people have been suspended, and passenger numbers on […]
22 hours ago
Electronic signage at an Optus telecommunications retail store is seen at the central business dist...
Associated Press

Australia updates law to protect data after Optus hack

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government announced changes Thursday to its telecommunications law to protect vulnerable customers after personal details were stolen in a major cyberattack on the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier. The changes to Telecommunications Regulations allow Optus and other providers to better coordinate with financial institutions and governments to detect and mitigate […]
22 hours ago
FILE - The recently closed Savannah Medical Clinic, which provided abortions for four decades in Sa...
Associated Press

At least 66 US clinics have halted abortions, institute says

At least 66 clinics in 15 states have stopped providing abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to an analysis released Thursday. The number of clinics providing abortions in the 15 states dropped from 79 before the June 24 decision to 13 as of Oct. 2, according to the Guttmacher Institute, […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 6, the launch of Instagram

Today in History Today is Thursday, Oct. 6, the 279th day of 2022. There are 86 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 6, 1973, war erupted in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday. (Israel, initially caught off guard, […]
22 hours ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Former Uber security chief guilty of data breach coverup

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The former chief security officer for Uber was convicted Wednesday of trying to cover up a 2016 data breach in which hackers accessed tens of millions of customer records from the ride-hailing service. A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Joseph Sullivan of obstructing justice and concealing knowledge that a federal […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Suspect in New Mexico Muslim killings detained pending trial