Local News

Dozens come together to remember slain Chapel Hill students

Posted February 15, 2015 12:18 a.m. EST
Updated February 15, 2015 12:20 a.m. EST

— People from across the Triangle gathered Saturday to remember three Muslim college students who were shot and killed in Chapel Hill this week.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead Tuesday evening at the newlywed couple's home near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

A neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Police said the shootings appear to be the result of a long-running dispute over parking spaces at the condominium complex where Hicks and the victims lived, but relatives of the victims have called for an investigation of their deaths as a hate crime.

Their families came together at the The Islamic Center of Raleigh, where where Barakat and the Abu-Salha sisters worshipped, to receive condolences and hear fond memories shared by friends.

Though some prayers were offered up in Arabic and passengers were read from the Koran, the service was open to anyone of any faith.

"It's a lot of love out there for them and people that they don't know," said Quincy Brown, a Baptist. "Sometimes you would think that people in different faiths and background s would just be isolated to themselves, but when they open it up, that just shows a lot."

Deah Barakat's father said he realizes, through the tragic situation, the impact his son had on people.

"They all came to me and hugging me and telling me how Deah touched them in so many different ways," he said.

A vigil to remember the victims will be held at Durham Technical Community College on Monday night at 6:30 p.m.