Authorities said Sunday they were seeking information about a “vehicle of interest” in connection with the murder of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since November.
Albuquerque Deputy Police Chief Cecily Barker said police are looking for a metallic charcoal or dark gray late-model Volkswagen Jetta from central New Mexico.
Mayor Tim Keller said before introducing Barker, “We have a very, very strong lead. We have an interesting vehicle.”
Barker didn’t say exactly what such a car might tie to the case. It appeared that the vehicle was recorded on security video near one or more of the crime scenes.
A flyer requesting information about the car said it had been seen near “recent murders of four Muslim men”. The vehicle appears to be a sixth-generation Jetta, which was sold in North America from 2011 to 2018. The model was sold in “platinum gray metallic”, one of eight factory colors available.
The Volkswagen, Barker said, had tinted windows and possible minor body damage.
Keller said authorities do not know who owns or operates the sedan or where exactly it is registered. Barker asked anyone with information about a vehicle matching that description to call Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers.
Police say the attacks may be related and that the victims were likely the target. They didn’t say the motive was hate.
The latest deadly shooting happened just before midnight Friday on the outskirts of a community known as the International District, southeast of downtown, police said.
The victim has not been publicly identified. Authorities say he was Muslim and South Asian, like the other victims.
The first attack that could be related to the violence took place on 7 November. The body of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, was found in a parking lot behind the halal meat trade he ran with his brother.
The other two murders were the murder of Pakistani immigrant Aftab Hussein, 41, on July 26 and the murderous Monday of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, near the University of New Mexico, authorities said.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the state police, the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the investigation, with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham saying on Saturday she had sent more state officials to the city to assist. .
Keller said at Sunday’s press conference, “I know that together we condemn the senseless murders.”
Andrew Blankstein contributed.