The son of the man suspected of murdering four Muslim men in New Mexico may be linked to some of the shootings, authorities said.
Shaheen Syed, 21, was arrested on Tuesday for a possible connection to the series of murders, according to Federal Court documents obtained by Metro.co.uk.
Shaheen is the son of Muhammad Syed, who federal authorities say targeted four Muslim men in Albuquerque in “ambush” attacks. Muhammad was charged with two of the murders on Wednesday and police have identified him as the prime suspect in the other two.
Police have not confirmed whether the killings would be classified as hate crimes, serial murders or both.
Federal prosecutors on Monday filed a motion to keep Shaheen in custody pending the investigation because they believe Shaheen may have been involved in the Aug. 1 shooting of Muhammad Aftaal Hussain.
According to a ballistics report, two firearms fired a total of 15 rounds at Aftaal Hussain – a rifle and a pistol. The drive-by shooting was over in about 20 seconds.
Aftaal Hussain’s brother, Imtiaz Hussain, also believed that several people were involved in the shooting.
“For a suspect, it’s difficult to use two weapons in such a short time,” Imtiaz said.
When police searched Muhammad Syed’s home in Albuquerque, they found two AK-47 rifles and a pistol.
When they searched Muhammad Syed’s Volkswagen Jetta, they found a fourth weapon – a 9mm handgun – and several shell casings. One casing was from the handgun and two others corresponded to the rifles and the pistol.
Prosecutors have also linked Shaheen to the August 5 murder of Naeem Hussain.
Cell tower data analyzed by law enforcement shows Shaheen and her father were both in “the same general area” of the murder of victim Naeem.
“The phone calls between Muhammad Atif Syed and the defendant (Shaheen Syed) would be consistent with rapid surveillance calls, both before and after the shooting,” prosecutors said.
Shaheen’s defense attorney, John Anderson, said the charges against his client were “extremely thin and speculative”.
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