Authorities in the US state of North Carolina are trying to determine whether hate played a role in the shooting deaths of three Muslim students.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in the fatal shootings of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his 21-year-old wife, Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
Authorities said the preliminary investigation of the shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina showed that a long-simmering parking dispute was the motive, but family members insist it was a “hate crime”.
“This was not a dispute over a parking space, this was a hate crime,” Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the two slain women, told the News & Observer newspaper . “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.”