3 Muslims Gunned Down in N. Carolina

3 Muslims Gunned Down in N. Carolina3 Muslims Gunned Down in N. Carolina

Three members of a Muslim family in North Carolina’s university town of Chapel Hill were gunned down in their house, in what some are alleging was a hate crime which has sparked grief and anger in the US and beyond.

The victims in the triple homicide have been identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

A 46-year-old man identified by police as Craig Stephen Hicks turned himself in late Tuesday night. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of three counts of first degree murder, RT reported.

Police have yet to comment on what might have compelled Hicks to carry out the attack, though there has been some speculation on social media it was a hate crime. Hicks is a self-described atheist who regularly posted content critical of religion on his Facebook account.

According to US media, Hicks allegedly wrote in one post, “When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me. If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I.” The quote in question was paraphrased from Pat Condell, an Irish comedian and atheist internet personality.

Police responded to a call about gunshots in the family’s apartment complex on Tuesday. They discovered the bodies of the victims, all of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the regional daily The News & Observer, Yusor was scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in biological sciences from NCSU, according to a university statement.

Barakat, a Syrian-American, studied business administration and management at NCSU before enrolling at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 to pursue his doctorate in dental surgery. Razan was studying architecture and environmental design at NCSU.