Wednesday 13 December 2017

Parking dispute prompted gun deaths

The garda pistol club is critical of the new ban.
The garda pistol club is critical of the new ban.
Richard Dawkins condemned the killings on Twitter

The fatal shooting of three family members near the University of North Carolina campus in the US was sparked by a long-running parking dispute, police said.

But a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group has raised concerns about the motive and asked authorities to address speculation - much of it on social media - about possible anti-Muslim bias.

The victims have been identified as husband and wife Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Nihad Awad, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: "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."

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting. He has appeared briefly in court. A probable cause hearing was scheduled for March 4.

In the statement from Chapel Hill Police, Chief Chris Blue said: "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."

Abdullah Antepli, director of Muslim affairs at nearby Duke University, issued a statement calling for people not to jump to conclusions over the motive for the killings.

Police said Hicks was cooperating and that their preliminary investigation showed that the parking dispute was the motive.

Press Association

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