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Three Muslim students gunned down at North Carolina campus
Thursday February 12, 2015 11:16 AM, Agencies

In a suspected case of hate crime, three American students have been shot to death Tuesday at a residential complex of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The victims were identified as 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his 21-year-old wife, Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, police said.

A local TV station in North Carolina quoted the father of the slain women, Mohammed Abu-Salha, as saying that his daughter had told him several times that they had a neighbour who was "hateful".

His daughter also reported that the man had a gun in his waistband more than once.

"They lived a clean life, never gave us a bad day," Abu-Salha was quoted as saying. "We raised them in our faith. We raised them to love their country and their people, and everybody's heart is broken. Everybody. All walks of life. The whole city did not sleep last night."

Chapel Hill police told local news outlets that Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was arrested and charged with killing the three Muslim students.

Hicks made a brief court appearance on Wednesday morning, saying he understood the charges, according to the Associated Press. His probable cause hearing was set for March 4 and he is being held without bond.

In a statement posted online, Chapel Hill police said that "preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbour dispute over parking."

"We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case," the statement said quoting Police Chief Chris Blue.

Hicks turned himself in after the shooting on Tuesday in Chapel Hill, just outside the campus of the University of North Carolina, AFP news agency reported.

Police officers responded to a report of shooting at around 5:15pm on Tuesday, and found three people who were pronounced dead at the scene.

The police website released a statement confirming the three deaths and saying the department is "questioning a person of interest in the crime and has reason to believe that there is no ongoing threat to the public".



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