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    Chapel Hill Shooting Tag

    Yesterday, thousands of people descended on Raleigh, North Carolina to pay homage to the three muslims killed in this week's brutal shooting in Chapel Hill. At one point, the memorial tilted political as the father of one of the victims begged for a federal investigation into the murders:
    In an impassioned speech to the assembly, the father of the two slain women implored President Obama and law enforcement to investigate the killings as a hate crime. “Please involve the F.B.I. Please investigate. Please look carefully,” said Dr. Mohammad Yousif Abu-Salha, a psychiatrist in nearby Clayton. “I have talked to lawyers. I have talked to law professors. This has hate crime written all over it!” “It is all about making this country that they loved, where they lived and died, peaceful for everybody else,” Dr. Abu-Salha said. Without uttering his name, Dr. Abu-Salha referred in his eulogy to the Facebook page of Mr. Hicks, the neighbor charged with the murders, where he frequently made clear his disdain for all religions. Dr. Abu-Salha asked people to ignore what he saw as defamatory depictions of Islam in the news media, and specifically in the current movie “American Sniper.”
    I'm not going to sit here and throw stones at speakers at a memorial where emotions are running high. His child was in the ground. That being said, over the past few days we're learned a little more about Hicks. Neighbors and friends of the victims are coming forward with troubling accounts of the dynamic between Mr. Hicks and his neighbors:

    Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with three counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of Deah Shaddy Barakat, age 23, Yusor Mohammad Barakat, age 21, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, age 19. A local ABC news affiliate has footage of Hicks' first court appearance, which you can watch here. We're still unclear as to why Hicks chose to gun down three people, but there are multiple reports floating around that the shooting was an escalation of an ordinary neighborhood parking dispute. More from WaPo:
    The Chapel Hill Police Department said Wednesday morning that initial indications suggested that the issue stemmed from a parking altercation. “Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking,” the department said in a statement. “Hicks is cooperating with investigators and more information may be released at a later time.” ... [Note: he was not released.] ... Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR, said Wednesday morning he had heard some “unsubstantiated reports” from community members that the victims had previous interactions with Hicks, including a dispute about a parking spot.
    CAIR says it...but neighbors also told the police that a parking dispute was part of the problem between Hicks and his victims. Bottom line is, we don't know yet. Hicks' appearance in court was extremely brief. Friends of the three victims have set up a "Our Three Winners" Facebook Memorial dedicated to telling the stories of Deah, Yusor, and Razan.
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