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Killed suspect in New Mexico, brother says he had a previous confrontation with victim

Albuquerque, New Mexico — One of four Muslim men killed in New Mexico in recent months has been charged withtwo counts of murder. The victimhad previously been in conflict with the victim's brother. said in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi, 62, was shot dead outside Ariana Halal Market & Caffe on November 7 — Suspect Ahmadi killed suspect Muhammad Syed, 51 ) about two years later. Ahmadi's brother, Shareef Hadi, is believed to be in a scheme involving their product.

Syed has not been charged with Ahmadi's death, but authorities believe he said to be the prime suspect in the murder. Syed, 25, is also a suspect in his August 5 murder of Naeem Hussain.

Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi.
Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi.Nightly News

Said Wednesday was charged with the July 26 murder of Aftab Hussein, 41, and he was charged with the August 1 murder of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain 27. rice field.

Hadi, who owned and operated a shop with Ahmadi, said that Saeed had bought large quantities of rice and sold it to his brothers to make a profit. 

Ahmadi told Hadi, ``I don't like people like that,'' and started alienating Sayid, Hadi said. 

"My brother said, 'Don't come in.' I don't want to do business with you," Hadi said.

NBC News was unable to verify Hadi's account. Sayid's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Syed stopped frequenting the store, but in early 2020, Hadi and his wife moved to Albuquerque. While attending Friday prayers at the Islamic Center in New Mexico, he discovered two deflated tires. 

Upon closer inspection, Hadi said the tire appeared to have been slashed. The couple reported the incident to the mosque, after which they were shown a surveillance video from the parking lot that appeared to show a man cutting a tire. 

The mosque later identified the man as Saeed. said Hadi. 

In a separate interview, Ahmad Ased, director of the Islamic Center, corroborated Hadi's story, saying that Saeed was temporarily banned from service after the incident. He eventually returned without incident, Assed said. 

Sharief Hadi inside Ariana Halal Market & Caffe. Hadi is the brother of shooting victim Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi.
Shareef Hadi & Cafe inside Ariana Halal Market. Hadi is the brother of shooting victim Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi.Alicia Lozano/NBC News

"We notified him that he was unwelcome and it was months before we considered him coming back. I gave them a time frame,” said Ased. "We kept our distance from the suspect and didn't let him come in for a long time."

Syed's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Still, Assed said he and many within Albuquerque's close-knit Muslim community were shocked when Syed was identified as a suspect in the murder. 

"It's certainly come back a little bit," he said. "We are a small community and we know each other."

for Hadi, who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan with his brother in the 1980s and lived in Philadelphia before settling in Albuquerque. , the murder of his brother upset him. 

The two were close, he said, remembering Ahmadi as a "great chef" who enjoyed cooking American cuisine as well as his native cuisine. rice field. Ahmadi once served 800 people in one weekend, Hadi said.

Ahmadi was the first of his four Muslims to be murdered in Albuquerque, his death discarding cigarettes and blood stains left after Ahmadi was shot in the head. Haunted by Hadi, who has stated that he can still remember the overturned chair. After closing the store.

Hadi kept the store open to keep the memory of his brother alive—the doors remained locked, and Hadi only let in customers he knew or had called in advance.

74} "He was incredible," Hadi said. "All I have now are memories with my brother. I can't handle it.

Alicia Victoria Lozano reported from Albuquerque. Reported from Fort Bragg, CA. Tim Sterow