'Atheist' Arrested for Murders of 3 Muslim Students at University of North Carolina

Tragic news this morning: three Muslim students were reportedly shot dead just outside of the University of North Carolina campus on Tuesday evening. Police have arrested and charged one man who they say is a self-described Atheist who often criticized religions on Facebook.


The victims have been identified as 23-year-old second-year dental student Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, who was about to start her first year of studies at the dental school, and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Police say all three victims were shot in the head just outside of campus at around 5:10 p.m.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who describes himself as a supporter of "Atheists for Equality" on Facebook, reportedly turned himself in to police "without incident" and is being charged with three counts of murder. He is expected to appear in court Wednesday morning.

Hicks has reportedly used social media to condemn different religions, including both Islam and Christianity. On his page, he describes himself as a married man who studied to become a paralegal at Durham Technical Community College. His wife reportedly works at UNC Hospital.

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So many questions remain to be answered, including the burning one: What was Hicks' motive for allegedly killing these students? Did he know them? Was this purely an attack on them for their religious beliefs?

Both Barakat and Mohammad, who were married just one month ago, were reportedly actively fundraising to provide dental care to refugees in Syria. Barakat was also planning to travel to Turkey this summer to treat refugee children.

Our hearts go out to all of the relatives and friends grieving for the three victims this morning.

What do you think was the suspect's motive?


Image via Durham County Sheriff's Office

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