Three Muslim college students killed in Chapel Hill shooting; 46-year-old man charged

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edited February 2015 in The Social Lounge

Three college students killed in Chapel Hill shooting; 46-year-old man charged
Posted 6:13 p.m. yesterday
Updated 45 minutes ago


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A 46-year-old Chapel Hill man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after three college students were shot and killed Tuesday evening at a condominium complex on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill, authorities said.

Craig Stephen Hicks turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Pittsboro following the shooting, which happened in the Finley Forest complex off Barbee Chapel Road shortly after 5 p.m.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill, Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

All three victims were shot in the head, sources said.

Barakat, a second-year dental student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, married Yusor Mohammad in late December, according to school officials.

According to a page on, a free online fundraising website, Barakat was one of the organizers of an effort to raise money to provide free dental care to students of the Salaam School in Turkey. Barakat and others were scheduled to travel to Turkey in the summer of 2015 to treat children who have become refugees due to the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Mohammad is listed on her Facebook page as a student at North Carolina State University, and officials at UNC said she was planning to begin dental studies in Chapel Hill this fall.

Abu-Salha, Mohammad's younger sister, is listed as a sophomore at NC State and a graduate of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

The three victims were Muslim, and Hicks is not, according to posts about atheism on his Facebook page. In thousands of posts on social media, many have now questioned whether the victims' Islamic faith was a factor in the shooting.

Investigators have not said what led to the shootings. Hicks was being held without bond early Wednesday in the Durham County jail. He is scheduled to make a first court appearance Wednesday morning.

The shootings came as a surprise to Bethany Boring, who encountered police cars, crime scene tape and people visibly upset when she stepped out of her home to walk her dog.

"It's a very quiet community," she said. "It's a lot of graduate and professional students. You know, professional's families."

Daniel Waggoner echoed Boring's description of the neighborhood.

"I'm up late. I come home late, and it's always quiet when I get here," he said. "So I mean, yeah, it's surprising."

A campus crime alert from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was sent to students. The complex is located near campus.