Chapel Hill shooting: Three American Muslims killed
Yusor Abu-Salha, her sister, Razan Abu-Salha were killed and her husband Deah Shaddy Barakat were shot dead. A 46-year-old man is being held in Durham County Jail on three counts of first-degree murder
1:47PM GMT 11 Feb 2015
Three American Muslims have been shot dead in their home near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US.
The three were named by police as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.
The Salha sisters were students at North Carolina State University and Barakat was a doctoral student in UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry, according to local media.
In a statement, the police said they responded to a report of gunshots in the usually quiet area of Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill at 5.11pm on Tuesday. Upon arrival, officers found the three young individuals, who were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Independent reported that some residents were unaware of what had happened until police arrived.A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of three counts of murder. He was named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks and in a statement confirmed he had been charged.
Police custody shot of Craig Hicks
Wral.com also reported that Hicks turned himself in to the police and there would be a court hearing on Wednesday morning.
In what appears to be the Facebook page of the man charged, Craig Hicks shared a picture from United Atheists of America entitled: "Why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues." He also shared an image from Militant Atheism for the Soul.
According to the profile page, Hicks is married and studied paralegal at Durham Technical Community College.
In January, he shared a picture of a gun and wrote: "Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader."
Following the news of the deaths, there was an outpouring of grief and anger on social media, with some fears that the three were killed because they were Muslim. However, the police did not make any statement on the motive for the killings.
The hashtag, #MuslimLivesMatter, was trending on Twitter as well as #ChapelHillShooting worldwide, while the atheist Richard Dawkins condemned the killings.
The three actively used social media to share happy moments and according to Yusor's Facebook, the couple had only married in December and shared photos of their day.
University of North Carolina confirmed Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha got married less than two months ago and Yusor was going to start dental studies in Chapel Hill in autumn.
In the picture below, Yusor was also tagged on Facebook.