A string of killings has sent shockwaves through the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico where residents have endured the killings of multiple men in what were thought to be separate events.
On Tuesday, however, a suspect was taken into custody and is being charged in relation to the homicides, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The man is a 51 year old from Afghanistan, named Muhammad Syed. He was arrested on Monday night after he was found traveling on Interstate 40 headed toward Texas.
After police attained a search warrant, they found gun that fires rounds consistent with the casings found at the scenes of two of the homicides.
Syed is also said by prosecutors to be “the most likely person of interest or suspect in the case,” in regards to the cases of the other men who had been killed recently.
Police found a 9mm handgun in his personal vehicle and an AK-47 and pistol in his house during their undressing of his residence.
Syed was charged by federal prosecutors last year when he bought two rifles with a false Florida address, so this is not his first run-in with the law in America.
According to the AP News, Syed, who has been in America for five years, was a member of the Afghani special forces who fought against the Taliban while he was young.
At a press conference on Tuesday, a reporter asked if Syed was motivated by anger that his daughter had married a man from a different sect of the Muslim faith. Deputy Police Commander Kyle Hartsock responded saying, “motives are still being explored fully to understand what they are.”
According to Syed’s daughter, her “father is not a person who can kill somebody, my father has always talked about peace.” Despite this, she did acknowledge that her father was upset about her marriage and that two of the victims were friends of her husband.
Also, she reported, in 2017, that Syed pulled her then boyfriend from his car and began punching and kicking him until the boyfriend was barely able to escape. The boyfriend claimed that he was attacked due to Syed’s disapproval to his relationship with the suspect’s daughter.
A $30,000 reward had been offered for any information leading to the arrest of the suspect, after this case took the nation by storm last week.
Police initially thought that these killings were likely to be motivated by racial factors and that they were driven by anti-muslim hate.
President Joe Biden released a statement saying, in part, “these hateful attacks have no place in America.”
For days, this incident had been lauded as the most recent string of crimes related to race, and many political figures were invested in the solving of the case.
Vice President Kamala Harris wrote on the matter, saying, “we remain clear that we stand with the Muslim community in New Mexico and around our country. Hate has no place in America.”
It seems to have come as a shock to politicians, police, and community leaders that these homicides may have been committed by someone form the Middle East.