The Chapel Hill Shooting took place in the US on February 10th 2015 near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Craig Stephen Hicks, an American student, shot three other American students in the head:
- Deah Barakat, 23,
- Yusor Abu-Salha, his wife, 21,
- Razan Abu-Salha, her sister, 19.
Apparent hate crime: Hicks is an outspoken atheist who belongs to Atheists for Equality. He killed Muslim American neighbours that he had threatened and been hateful towards in the past.
The hashtag #ChapelHillShooting went viral on Twitter in the US, Britain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Some said the mainstream media was not covering the shooting, but it made the front page of the New York Times the next day.
The police said:
“preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbour dispute over parking.”
They have not yet ruled out a hate crime.
The father of the two sisters said:
“This has hate crime written all over it.”
“This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”
He said that the way the US media is always talking about “Islamic terrorism”, it makes people fear and hate Muslims, making violence against them more likely.
Hicks’s wife said religion had nothing to do with the shooting: her husband had parking disputes with neighbours of all faiths. She said he is a big believer in equality. According to his Facebook page, he hates all religions, not just Islam.
His lawyer says the real issue is the lack of access to mental health care.
Hicks owned 13 guns.
Richard Dawkins, an atheist, condemned the killings:
“How could any decent person NOT condemn the vile murder of three young US Muslims in Chapel Hill?”
President Obama called the crime “brutal and outrageous”. He said the FBI “is taking steps to determine whether federal laws were violated”.
Bombing North Carolina to rid the state of atheist violence appears unlikely: Atheists for Equality is not “associated” with Al Qaeda, so it does not fall under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Hicks was arrested by the police within hours; he was indicted for first-degree murder by the grand jury in just six days.
Deah Barakat, a Syrian American, was studying to be a dentist. He had raised money to help bring dental care to the homeless of nearby Durham and to Syrian refugees in Turkey. Refugee camps have little money for dental care – even though soldiers have a habit of breaking people’s teeth with the butt of their guns.
Barakat was to go to Rihaniya, Turkey this summer to help Syrian refugees at the dental clinic there. The clinic is now named the Deah Barakat Clinic.
Thanks to stephaniegirl for suggesting this post.