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Accused Chapel Hill school shooter told not to contact his children

Posted May 29, 2012

— A man accused of gunning down his estranged wife last week outside a Chapel Hill elementary school was ordered held without bond Tuesday and prohibited from contacting his children.

Ali Cherfaoui, 49, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Chahnaz Kebaier. His next court date was set for June 11.

Kebaier, 40, was shot several times in front of Mary Scroggs Elementary School, at 501 Kildaire Road, as she was about to pick up her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son from school.

Chapel Hill police said Cherfaoui shot Kebaier as the result of "an ongoing domestic dispute." Court records show that the couple married in August 2005 but separated last June.

At about the same time as they separated, Kebaier obtained a domestic violence protective order against Cherfaoui, who was barred from having contact with her and from possessing a firearm through mid-June.

The protective order states that Cherfaoui had threatened to kill his wife if she took the children and said that he was willing to be a martyr for his children.

During his first court appearance Tuesday, a District Court judge ordered Cherfaoui not to have any contact with his children or Kebaier's family. The order prohibits him from trying to send letters, emails or text messages or delivering flowers or gifts, the judge said.

Kebaier had been in the country for about 10 years. The Tunisia native had been a research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2009.

Ali Cherfaoui in court Court papers show nasty split between accused shooter, victim

A citizen of Algeria, Cherfaoui has lived in the U.S. for about 20 years. Court papers and his arrest report show he is unemployed.

This spring, he was ordered to pay eight months of back child support, totaling almost $3,000, as well as $300 a month to remain current in his support.

The shooting sent Mary Scroggs Elementary into a lockdown, but no students or staff were harmed.

“Our hearts are breaking for the loss of Chahnaz Kebaier and for her family at this sad time," Principal Keri Litwak said in a statement released Tuesday.

“I am so proud of the way the Mary Scroggs Elementary staff worked together to ensure the safety of our students. They did an excellent job in carrying out lockdown procedures and dismissing students under extraordinarily difficult circumstances," Litwak said. "Scroggs parents and other community members also have been remarkably supportive throughout this ordeal."

Tuesday was the first day of classes at the school after the shooting and the holiday weekend, and Litwak said about 20 students and staff met with counselors.


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  • Lightfoot3 May 30, 2012

    "would CC have mattered in this situation?" - JAT

    Perhaps she could have defended herself, if she was armed. Perhaps other people want to defend themselves. Criminals don't pay attention to gun free zones. This is a prime example. However, my main beef with it is that when I'm dropping off the kids (or picking them up) and heading on out, I have to leave my firearm at home.

    "but more likely a gunfight would have resulted in even more people getting shot and/or killed." - JAT

    What happened to your only one person being targeted argument? If the bad guy is the only target, more than likely he'll be the one hit. The case with lots of others getting hit is when people fire randomly, like in a driveby. Other states allow in-car carry in school dropoff/pickup lanes, why can't NC?

  • JAT May 30, 2012

    lightfoot - how would CC have mattered in this situation? No one knew he had a gun; he walked up with only 1 person as his target and shot the gun at only her. If some stranger had had a gun, sure, he (or most likely a soccer mom, she) might have shot and kill the man, but more likely a gunfight would have resulted in even more people getting shot and/or killed.

  • mpheels May 30, 2012

    Ali Cherfaoui is from Algeria. Unlike some predominantly Muslim countries, Algeria has a decent track record when it comes to women's rights. Women are allowed to seek divorce, claim custody of children, own and inherit property, attend school, and work in high level professional roles. They are not legally required to wear head coverings. Honor killings are not normal or accepted in Algeria. Women's rights and and equality with men are protected by the Algerian constitution. This murder had nothing to do with Mr. Cherfaoui's nationality or ethnicity.

  • itsmyownopinion May 30, 2012

    This was a horrible tragedy. This man deserves to see life in prison without parole. I am so glad no one else was hurt or killed.

    Oh, I don't know, maybe a security cop returning fire and taking the perp out would have been OK. A "man" who would go to a school to gun down the mother of his children doesn't deserve too much consideration.

  • Scubagirl May 30, 2012

    oh and PBSM I believe you have your quotes confused. the quote is "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
    and YOUR bias is showing again.

  • Lightfoot3 May 30, 2012

    "This is an example of why CC should be allowed in the parking lot / pick-up lanes within a motor vehicle." - deadhead_1971

    Amen! Other states allow it.

  • Scubagirl May 30, 2012

    I tend to agree with those who mention cultural differences and sharia law.....Those were my first thoughts when I saw this story yesterday.

    It's very unfortunate that one goes to the trouble of getting a protective order, only to be killed later by someone who was not "allowed" to come within X feet of them.

    While this MAY be gender bias in it's strictist definition, I do not believe his actions were based on that; rather the fact that she was standing up to him both legally and personally and in his native country that is just not tolerated.

  • ndadszucs May 30, 2012

    babbleon, thanks. you saved me the trouble of responding to that mess.

  • babbleon May 30, 2012

    My deepest sympathies to the families.

  • babbleon May 30, 2012

    > It is about a man murdering his wife and justifying it due
    > to his extreme cultural and religious beliefs. maltese65lover

    > Sharia Law. Hill55

    Wrong. It's about a man too immature to see people as separate beings with their own lives. It happens over and over, in every culture, ethnicity and every religion.

    Scott Peterson, James Radford, Brinton Millsap, Sonny Lee Howard (just two days earlier - how soon we forget), etc.

    Did you even know there were over 100 people killed by domestic violence last year? Usually by a firearm, though knives are also popular.

    Open your mind and let some facts fall in: