Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement following the murder of 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain in Albuquerque on Monday. Hussain was the planning and land use director for the city of Española.

“The senseless and horrific murders of Mohammad Ahmadi, Aftab Hussein, and, most recently, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain are deeply disturbing to me and to all New Mexicans. New Mexico is a state that is proud of its diversity, which makes our state a richer and more vibrant place to call home,” she said.

Albuquerque Police on Thursday said they suspect the shootings of Hussain, as well as two other recent shootings involving Middle Eastern and Muslim residents, may be connected and racially and/or religiously motivated. Mohammad Ahmadi, 62-year-old Afghanistani man in was shot and killed in November as he stood outside of his halal grocery store. In July, another 41-year-old Afghanistani man named Aftab Hussein was shot and killed.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of these men, as well as with the Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in Albuquerque and the rest of the state. We will provide any resources requested by law enforcement to aid in this investigation,” added the governor.

APD says they are working with the FBI as the killings would be considered hate crimes.

Anyone with information about these crimes should contact Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP.