(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M) — The man charged in the killings of at least three of the four Muslim men killed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in recent months has a history of arrests for domestic violence, police said.
Muhammad Syed, 51, is charged with murder in the shooting deaths of 25-year-old Naeem Hussain on Aug. 5, 41-year-old Aftab Hussein on July 26 and now the Aug. 1 murder of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, according to the Albuquerque Police Department. Syed denied being involved in the deaths of the men after he was arrested, according to police.
Investigators said they are working with the district attorney’s office on potential charges for the murder of the other man who was killed within months of the others.
Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, was killed last November outside a business he ran with his brother, police said.
The victims of the shootings in August and July were from Pakistan. Ahmadi was from Afghanistan.
Syed moved to the U.S. from Afghanistan several years ago and has since been arrested at least twice on misdemeanor domestic violence charges, police said.
According to a criminal complaint from May 2018, Syed and his wife had an argument that turned physical while in a state Department of Human Services office.
Syed claimed his wife slapped him while they were arguing in the car and kicked him while in the waiting room of the office, the complaint says. His wife told police Syed pulled her by the hair and kicked her out of the vehicle, forcing her to walk for almost two hours to the office. When she arrived, the argument continued and she claimed Syed grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground, according to the complaint.
An employee at the office told police that she found Syed’s wife on the floor with a large piece of hair that had fallen to the ground, the complaint says. Employees stated that Syed arrived about an hour and a half before his wife arrived, according to the complaint.
He was placed under arrest for battery on a household member, but his wife did not want to pursue charges or participate in prosecution, which led to the dismissal of the case, according to a spokesperson from the Office of the Second Judicial District Attorney.
In December 2018, Syed’s son called officers to the home, and claimed that the father was “striking” the mother and son, according to a criminal complaint. The son had locked himself in his room after the son had been hit by his father with a metal spoon, which drew blood on the back of his head, the complaint says.
The son advised officers that Syed had routinely beaten him and his mother in the past. Syed denied any violence, the criminal complaint showed. Victims were again unwilling to pursue charges or cooperate with police.
An attorney for Syed did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
The string of slayings had left Muslim communities across the country shaken.
“I hope that our community can breathe a sigh of relief and be assured about safety and security that our main suspect has been put behind bars and that’s where he belongs,” Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at a press conference Aug. 10.
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