Even as police offered new details into the execution-style slayings of at least two Muslim men in Albuquerque, the sprawling record of alleged domestic violence by the chief suspect in the murders came into focus.
Despite a slew of disturbing allegations of domestic violence and multiple arrests detailed in court records obtained by The Daily Beast against Muhammad Syed, 51, his wife and daughter told a local TV station they believe he’s innocent.
“I believe they will release my father,” his daughter Lubna told KRQE. “He didn’t do anything.”
According to a criminal complaint obtained by The New York Times, Syed denied any role in the series of killings that sent a Muslim community into a state of terror. But his wife and daughter have said that the family knew three of the four men who were killed.
Syed is accused of murdering Aftab Hussein, 41, on July 26, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, on Aug. 1. He’s also the main suspect in the homicides of Naeem Hussain, 25, who was killed on Aug. 5 after attending a funeral for the other two victims, and Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, who was gunned down in November outside a market he operated with his brother.
According to the complaint, Syed was pulled over by police on Monday about 100 miles from the Texas state line. He allegedly told police he was driving to Houston to find a new place for his family because things were things were “bad” in Albuquerque. Many in the local Muslim community have taken measures to protect themselves in the face of what appeared like a possible hate crime spree.
While he denied any wrongdoing in the police stop, the complaint states the authorities found a handgun in the car—and a bullet casing between the dashboard and the windshield. The casing and the handgun, authorities said, matched ballistic evidence found at the Aug. 1 crime scene.
Syed also allegedly told police he knew another one of his victims—Naeem Hussain—since at least 2016, but refused to provide details into their relationship.
In a previous interview with Times, Ahmad Assed, the president of the city’s biggest mosque, said authorities told him that the suspect is a Sunni Muslim who possibly targeted his victims because he was angry over his daughter marrying a Shiite Muslim. Police, however, have not revealed a motive in the series of murders that devastated New Mexico’s largest city.
Records obtained by The Daily Beast indicate that Syed, his wife and son were previously accused of assaulting his daughter’s then boyfriend—who may now be her husband, public records show—as he sat in his vehicle in 2017. Syed also has a history of allegations of domestic violence and aggravated assault against his wife and children, going back to 2018.
In December 2017, Syed was arrested after he attacked and beat Iftikhar Amir, his daughter Lubna’s then boyfriend. (Property records show that a Lubna Syed and Iftikhar Hussain Am Jan took out a mortgage for an Albuquerque home in November 2021. They are also listed as the property’s current owners for the 2022 tax year on the Bernalillo County Assessor’s website.)
Iftikhar told police he was sitting in Lubna’s car, when three members of her family opened the car door, pulled him out of the vehicle and started punching and kicking him. Iftikhar identified the assailants as Lubna’s father, brother and mother. He told police that Lubna’s family attacked him because they “did not want her having a relationship with [him].” The beating left Iftikhar with a bleeding nose, bruised face, and scratched body, and he was transported to hospital in an ambulance, according to a police report obtained by The Daily Beast.
Muhammad was charged with battery, but the case against him was dropped.
The following year, Muhammad Syed once again came to the police’s attention, following a domestic violence call. In May 2018, Syed and his wife Bibi started arguing in the car on the way to an appointment at the New Mexico Department of Human Services, according to an arrest report obtained by The Daily Beast. Bibi told police it was her first time driving the car, and Muhammad became enraged by mistakes she was making. He began to scream and yell that she was a bad driver, and then grabbed her by the hair and threw her out of the car, Bibi told police. She was forced to walk for two hours to get the rest of the way to the Human Services building, according to her statement.
Muhammad arrived at the Human Services around and hour and half before Bibi, according to witnesses interviewed by the police. Bibi told police Muhammad was angry that it had taken her so long to get to the appointment, and had thrown her to the ground. Employees heard Bibi yelling in distress from the building’s lobby, and then Erica Montoya, an employee who helped process the couple’s documents, found Bibi lying on the floor, yelling “My husband! My husband!” with a large chuck of hair missing from her scalp. Muhammad told police Bibi had slapped him across the face in their car, and had pushed and kicked him at the office.
The battery charges against Muhammad were ultimately dropped.
Seven months later, Muhammad’s son Maiwand, called the police after locking himself in the family’s bathroom, saying that his father was outside beating his mother, Bibi, with a large metal slotted spoon. He told police that Muhammad had been attacking his mother while his sister, Lubna, tried to restrain him, and that Muhammad had then struck Maiwand in the head. When the police arrived they found the back of Maiwand’s head soaked with blood. He told police that Muhammed routinely beat him and his mother, Bibi. However, as Maiwand translated for his mother, who did not speak English, he told police she was denying that any violence had occurred and telling him not to tell the police anything. Muhammad Syed was arrested for aggravated battery, but the case against him was later dropped.
Meanwhile, records show Syed was arrested in February 2020 for allegedly resisting, evading or obstructing an officer (refusal to stop) and failure to obey traffic control devices/failure to obey sign.
In a police report, the arresting officer said he pursued Syed after observing his maroon Honda run a red light at a four-way intersection.
According to the report, the cop turned on his squad car’s emergency lights and followed Syed’s car for about four blocks and into the parking lot of an apartment complex. Syed “did not exit the vehicle” after the officer ordered him to do so over the P.A. system, the document states.
Cops then handcuffed Syed and put him in the back of a patrol car, and an interpreter was called to explain to Syed why he was being arrested. The report indicates Syed’s son was also brought over to translate for him, since he only spoke Pashto.
“I had Muhammad step out of the vehicle and asked if he was going to cooperate and sign the citation,” the officer noted in the report. “Muhammad then stated that I was ‘good man’ and my sergeant was a ‘motherfucker.’”
“Muhammad’s son asked him if he was going to comply or if he wanted to go to jail,” the officer continued. “Muhammad’s son attempted to reason with him but Muhammad just elevated his voice and got more angry.”
The son, according to the report, indicated that his dad “wanted to go to jail,” so Syed was transported to the Bernalillo County jail and booked on the charges.
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