Brother of Muslim man killed in Albuquerque shootings speaks out

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Muhammad Syed, the man charged in two of the four murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque, will be held in jail until his trial.

Muhammad is charged with the murders of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. Police said both men were ambushed and shot.

Now, the family of one of the victims is calling on Albuquerque police, they want investigators to look closely at who else may be involved. They said they believe Syed did not act alone.

In court, prosecutors successfully argued that Syed is a danger to all of Albuquerque, saying he was hunting his victims with planning and precision.

“Defendant is really incapable of following any sort of lawful orders,” said the prosecutor. “This defendant is extremely dangerous.”

The defense pushed back.

“Mr. Syed is presumed innocent in those cases just as he is presumed innocent in this one,” said the defense. 

But the judge disagreed.

“The weight of the evidence is high.”

The judge also said he considered the fact that police say Syed was fleeing New Mexico when they arrested him. 

As these proceedings are playing out, family and friends of the victims are still heartbroken, including the brother of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.

“He was a pillar for our family. He was a stern leader,” said Imtiaz Hussain. “ “He had no discrimination against anyone. It’s very painful. Now, for me, life is dark.”

Imtiaz says he is very thankful that Syed will stay behind bars.

“The whole community, the Muslim community, we got a sigh of relief,” said Imtiaz. “The community feels safe.”

In an encounter earlier this year that now feels haunting, Imtiaz says he and his brother ran into Syed at their mosque, prayed near each other, and they spoke briefly.

“He seemed very polite. I never had any apprehension by talking to him that he’s a potential butcher,” said Imatiaz. 

But now, they believe investigators have the right guy.

Imtiaz says it’s very important that they find out why Syed allegedly carried out these gruesome, ambush attacks.

“What is the ideology they carry that they wanted to butcher, and they wanted to burst the skull of innocent people,” Imatiaz said. “They shot him here multiple times.”

He says the evidence he’s seen shows this was coordinated and well-planned, and that another person or people must have been involved. After all, in court documents investigators say two different guns were used to kill his brother.

“I want to request that the FBI and APD, please, do an investigation on his sons too,” said Imtiaz. “Do an investigation of his whole family.”

Some have wondered whether internal Islamic conflict may have motivated the accused shooter,  perhaps rooted in feelings between Sunni and Shia Muslims. 

Imtiaz said he doesn’t believe that’s the case.