Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of three Islamic students in an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
From Fox News:
The murder of three North Carolina college students was motivated by an ongoing dispute over a parking space, despite widespread speculation the victims were targeted by an avowed atheist because of their Muslim faith, police said.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Although a Facebook page in Hicks' name that described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and blasted “radical Christians and radical Muslims" for causing strife in the world gave prompted rampant suspciion that the crime was motivated by hate, police said Wednesday it was about a parking space at the condominium complex where the murders took place.
Those killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Raleigh, N.C. resident Razan Abu-Salha, Chapel Hill Police said in a statement.
[caption id="attachment_40699" align="alignleft" width="159"] Craig Stephen Hicks[/caption]
"Our investigators are exploring what could have motivated Mr. Hicks to commit such a senseless and tragic act. We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case," Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said.
"We are sensitive to the impact an incident of this nature has on campus and in the community. "We understand you want to know the facts as quickly as possible.
"At the same time, we must respect the job our Chapel Hill police have as they investigate this crime," the University of North Carolina said in a statement.