It will be interesting to see what his motive was. Tragic ending for these young students.
A man who posted anti-religious sentiments online has been arrested after three Muslim students were shot dead close to the University of North Carolina campus on Tuesday.
Craig Stephen Hicks, who describes himself as a vehement supporter of atheism, has been charged with three counts of murder after the trio were shot dead in Meadowmont around 5pm.
Dentistry student Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill, his new wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, all died.
Hicks, 46, of Chapel Hill, turned himself in ‘without incident’ and is currently being held in Durham County jaill. He is due to make a court appearance this morning.
He is believed to have turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Pittsboro after the triple shooting.
On a Facebook page in his name, Hicks shared a number of anti-religion posts, describing himself as a supporter of ‘Atheists for Equality’. A banner about ‘anti-theism’ is prominent on his page.
Hicks posted a photo from United Atheists of America on February 8, which has the title ‘why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues’.
On the page he is listed as married and having studied to become a paralegal at Durham Technical Community College. Records show his wife works at UNC Hospital.
Most of the pictures he has posted in recent months criticize a number of religions, including Christianity.
Other recent pictures he has published include one of a loaded revolver.
In one post allegedly written by Hicks and shared by CNN, he wrote: ‘When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me. If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I.’
Police were called to Summerwalk Circle after shots were heard at about 5.10pm on Tuesday.
When they arrived they found three people dead. They had been shot in the head, CNN reported.
According to their Facebook pages, Mr Barakat had married his wife just over a month ago and was a second year student at the dental school at the University of North Carolina.
The last picture on his Facebook page, posted on January 29, said he helped provide free dental supplies to 75 homeless people in downtown Durham.
The couple had organised an online fundraiser to get dental care to refugees from Syria, raising around $15,000 – but after news of their deaths, the total reached more than $23,000.
Mr Barakat was due to travel to Turkey in the summer to treat children who have become refugees following the civil war.
Last month, he tweeted: ‘It’s so freaking sad to hear people saying we should “kill Jews” or “Kill Palestinians”. As if that’s going to solve anything SMH [shaking my head].’
Read more: dailymail.co.uk