“We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these young people who lost their lives so needlessly."
- Chris Blue, the Chapel Hill police chief, via Washington Post
Thousands gathered for a vigil on Tuesday, after three local Muslim students were killed. Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her younger sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were killed in the couple’s apartment in Chapel Hill, according to news reports.
Barakat was a student in the School of Dentistry, and his wife, Yusor, had planned to begin her dental studies at Carolina next fall. Yusor’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, an undergraduate at North Carolina State University. The shooter turned himself in to the police and has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. The attacks ignited social media conversations using the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter, as well as media attention about what constitutes a hate crime.
Vigil attendees included Imam Abdullah Antepli, the Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs at Duke University, with Chancellor Carol L. Folt, NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, NC Central Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, Duke University Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta, UNC President Tom Ross, School of Dentistry Dean Jane Weintraub and Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.