Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill, and his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, were shot to death at an apartment building in Chapel Hill, N.C
The couple traveled to Turkey last year to provide free dental care to students, according to a Facebook page created in their memory by friends.
Muneeb Mustafa, 23, of Cary, said he attended the same Raleigh mosque as Barakat.
“He was a completely genuine guy. Loving, caring, friendly, smart,” Mustafa said. “He was an ideal human being. He was a role model.”
Abu-Salha was a sophomore studying architecture at North Carolina State University, and her sister was to begin classes there in the fall.
A moment of silence was planned Wednesday night during the N.C. State-University of Virginia basketball game, said Chancellor Randy Woodson. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Senseless acts like this go against all of our beliefs,” he said, adding that one of the school’s core values is “respect for diversity in all its forms.”
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who turned himself in to authorities, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday at a condominium complex in Chapel Hill. A neighbor called 911 reporting five to 10 shots and the sound of people screaming.
Police spokesman Lt. Joshua Mecimore said a preliminary investigation indicates the crime was “motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking” and that Hicks, who lives in the complex, is cooperating with investigators, according to newsobserver.com.
Hicks has been a full-time paralegal student at Durham Technical Community College. His profile on Facebook reads “Atheists for Equality” and he frequently posted quotes critical of religion.
He was also a Second Amendment advocate. Three weeks ago, he posted a photo of a .38-caliber revolver that he said was loaded and belonged to him. He is licensed to carry a concealed firearm.