FBI to investigate death of three Muslim students in North Carolina

Photo courtesy: FOX Carolinas

A 46-year-old Chapel Hill man has been arrested and charged for the off-campus shooting that killed three University of North Carolina students Tuesday evening. Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting but early reports indicate an argument over parking may have contributed.

The FBI has also announced that it will help local law enforcement with the investigation.

Craig Stephen Hicks turned himself in to law enforcement early Wednesday morning. He is schedule to be arraigned on three first-degree murder charges later Wednesday.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, both of Chapel Hill; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh; were killed in the shooting. Tammy Grubb, a reporter with the News & Observer newspaper, has learned the four may have been neighbors in the apartment complex on Summerwalk Circle. She reports there had previously been an argument over parking.

A Facebook page entitled "Our Three Winners" has been setup to remember the victims. Funeral plans have not yet been announced, according to the page.

The Islamic Center of Charlotte released a statement about the shootings. It said:

"The Islamic Center of Charlotte is asking that Craig Stephen Hicks to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for executing Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu Salha and her sister Razan Abu Salha. These victims were shot execution style with gun shots to their head. Not only was this a hate crime, it was an act of terror and we demand that the pursuit of justice gets the seriousness that it deserves.

Our thoughts and prayers are for the victims of this horrific act of terror and their family. We will devote the next few days and our Friday prayer service to remembering them and praying for them. We will continue to monitor this case to see that justice is served."

The school has made counseling services available overnight for students, faculty and staff. Students may call Counseling and Psychological Services at 919-966-2281. During regular business hours, students are encouraged to call 919-966-3658. Faculty and staff may contact our Employee Assistance Program at 877-314-5841, if you would like support.