Local News

Grand jury indicts suspect in Chapel Hill triple homicide

Posted February 16, 2015

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in a triple fatal shooting that happened Feb. 10, 2015, at a condominium complex in Chapel Hill.

— A man accused of killing a newlywed couple and the wife's sister at a Chapel Hill condominium complex less than a week ago was indicted Monday on three counts of first-degree murder.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, of 270 Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill, was also indicted on a charge of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

Chapel Hill police say Hicks surrendered to investigators late Tuesday evening after he allegedly shot his neighbors – Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 – and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, over what police believe was an ongoing parking dispute.

Local and federal investigators haven't ruled out other possible motives, including religious bias. The victims were Muslim, and family members believe their deaths were hate crimes.

Hicks, who on his Facebook page describes himself as a "gun-toting" atheist and Second Amendment rights advocate, often posted about organized religion.

His wife, however, has spoken out saying that her husband was a champion of social issues and equality and that the limited parking at Finley Forest condominiums – about 3 miles from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus – frustrated him.

According to neighbors and a tow truck driver who services the complex, Hicks often complained about others parking in his reserved space and called to have neighbors' cars towed so much that the towing company stopped responding to his calls.

Investigators seized 14 firearms and a cache of ammunition from Hicks' home, according to search warrants returned Friday.

According to the warrants, police found Barakat dead in the front doorway of his condo bleeding from the head. One of the sisters was found in the kitchen, and the other was in the doorway to the kitchen.

A witness outside told police that he heard shots and saw a man leaving the condo and driving off in a gold car, the warrant states.

While police continue their investigation, thousands of people have gathered to remember the victims.

Barakat, 23, was a second-year dental student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Yusor Abu-Salha was scheduled to begin dental studies there in the fall.

She graduated last year from North Carolina State University, where  Razan Abu-Salha was a sophomore.


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  • Arlington Stringham Feb 17, 2015
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    "There are many cases that seem not to have gone before the judge with the perpetrator sitting in jail for years , yet this one gets done in less than a week"This is an example of White privilege, one supposes.

  • Alan Baker Feb 16, 2015
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    "Creating hate" is a nifty new catch phrase but the translation is "People who don't look/act like me are saying things I don't want to hear. It makes me uncomfortable because I might be wrong. "

    And if that inspires you to hate, perhaps the problem isn't with them.

  • Amy LaFluer Feb 16, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I feel the same way! The media has went out of their way to create hate lately. I'm getting so tired of reading this stuff. We have such an awesome country, however people spend so much time complaining. The police know and most people know it was what it was, but instead of just saying it we all got to be so politically correct.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Feb 16, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Please don't allow reason to get between WRAL and a story.

  • Vera McGraw Feb 16, 2015
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  • Sarcoi Dosis Feb 16, 2015
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    From what I've read, it sounds like Craig suffered from some form of Mental Illness. He was probably never diagnosed, and never received help for it. He suffered a breakdown and sadly took it out on this family. If he was truly out to hurt Muslims, I don't think he would have stopped here and turned himself in. Obviously he had the tools to inflict much more serious damage to others, but instead chose to turn himself in to get help. Just my 2 cents. It sounds like disliked Everyone Equally.

  • Arlington Stringham Feb 16, 2015
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    "Investigators seized 14 firearms..." Still with the "14 firearms", huh?

  • Judy Fergerson Feb 16, 2015
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    There are many cases that seem not to have gone before the judge with the perpetrator sitting in jail for years , yet this one gets done in less than a week

  • Lorna Schuler Feb 16, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Very well stated Alexia. While we all agree what this man did was horrendous, I absolutely abhor the way that the media is trying to slant this.

    There is a difference between being a journalist and a story teller. Ethical journalism requires publishing ALL the facts. Not just taking niblets here and there and insinuating something that creates tensions, more hatred and division.

  • Alexia Proper Feb 16, 2015
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    "Hicks... often posted about organized religion."

    Come on WRAL. If you're going to make claims, then don't present a one-sided view. What did he say about religion? He said it was nonsense. Did he say anything bad about Muslims or Christians? No. In fact, he had one chart posted on his page comparing the two showing they have the same set of values.

    Importantly, he also posted on his page supporting women's rights, gay rights, etc. Basically, he appears to say everyone should be equal. But, you keep ignoring that.

    You're creating something here that does not exist. You just repeat what the older sister said. Go read it Facebook page yourself: https://www.facebook.com/craig.hicks.967