FBI probes gruesome murder of Pakistani students as hate crime

Sair Saeed Butt, 26, and Hammad Chaudhry, 23, both from Lahore, Pakistan were shot outside Mr. Butt’s apartment in Prince George’s Country, Maryland, last Monday.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided to probe the murder of two Pakistanis near Washington D.C last week as a hate crime, officials said on Monday.

The FBI office in Maryland called a Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to inform that it had taken over the case.

Last week, the council urged the FBI to take over the investigation from the Maryland police department who were investigating the murders as a street robbery.

P.G. County’s homicide detective Kerry Jernigan confirmed that police were treating the murders as a street robbery.

“Apparently, some local, young black males seized an opportunity to rob somebody and the worst happened,” he said, adding that police had already identified all five suspects and were going to arrest them soon. But when contacted on Monday, a week after the murders, police said so far they had a warrant for one suspect only. They said they were unable to arrest him because they did not know where he was.

Meanwhile, the FBI called the CAIR office in Bethesda, Maryland, and informed them that they “are pursuing this investigation as a hate crime until it is ruled out that it is not a hate crime,” said CAIR representative Seyed Rizwan Mowlana.

“The FBI decided to treat this as a hate crime because so far they have found no indication of robbery,” Mowlana said.

“The FBI acknowledged that the killers made no attempt to take the brand new car that Mr. Chaudhry was driving, although the keys were inside. They did not steal anything. They made no attempt to rob anyone,” he added.

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