Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

The Albuquerque Muslim community breathed a bittersweet sigh of reliefafter the news that Albuquerque Police arrested Muhammed Syed, 51, and charged him with the murders of Aftab Hussein on July 26 and Muhammed Afzaal Hussain on August 1. The gun used in the murders was found at Syed’s home and matched the shell casings left at both scenes. Police found evidence in the suspect’s car and at his Southeast Albuquerque home that led them to believe that Syed had an ongoing personal vendetta against those men.

Just two days ago, APD issued a bulletin for a car they believed was used in the homicides of four Albuquerque Muslim men. After receiving over 200 tips, police began watching Syed’s house. On Monday, Syed put bags into the Jetta and began driving east toward Santa Rosa. New Mexico State police stopped Syed on I-40 and arrested him. Ballistics reports showed that a gun found in the car matched bullet casings found at two of the murders.

Law enforcement is combing over evidence looking for proof that Syed is also responsible for the homicide of Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi in November 2021 and the most recent murder of Naeem Hussein on August 5. He is considered to be a person of interest in both of those homicides.

Not much is known about Syed, who is from Afghanistan and has lived in Albuquerque with his family for the past five years.

“We all pitched in to solve these crimes and protect a community that felt like it was under attack. We came together, like we always do in Albuquerque,” said Chief Harold Medina at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

APD said that over 100 officers worked over the past five days, searching through video surveillance, investigating tips and working with federal agents as well as the FBI.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez said that his office was working with federal agencies to determine if Syed will also face federal charges. He said that Syed had at least three domestic violence charges against him, but all three had been dismissed.

“We are so thankful to law enforcement, and so very proud to be New Mexican right now,” said Ahmad Assed, an Albuquerque lawyer and president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “We’re hopeful that this is end of the violence against the community, we’re praying for every family that’s been affected. This has affected everyone, not just the Muslim community.”

An interfaith prayer service for the community was held at at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Tuesday night.