- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Police arrested Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, and charged him with the murder of three Muslim students at an apartment near the Chapel Hill campus at the University of North Carolina.

Authorities aren’t yet saying what Mr. Hicks’ alleged motivation may have been. But he turned himself into police shortly after the shootings, CNN reported.

The three victims are Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; Yusor Mohammad, 21; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

All three had been shot in the head, WRAL reported.

Authorities say the suspect and victims — Barakat and Mohammad were married and Abu-Salha was Mohammad’s sister — were neighbors and had been embroiled in a long-simmering dispute over parking, The Associated Press reported. But they didn’t conclude that the parking argument sparked the shooting.

Many in the American-Muslim community, meanwhile, are seeing the homicides as the result of religious persecution.

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“Based on the brutal nature of this crime … the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case,” Nihad Awad, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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