U.S. wife insists husband killed Muslim students over parking dispute

World Today

Police arrest a man in the U.S. university town of Chapel Hill because they say he shot and killed three U.S. college students who were Muslim. The wife of the man accused of the murders says he killed the 3 students over a parking dispute, others are calling it a religious hate crime.

The emergency call came from an apartment complex in the Southeastern U.S. state of North Carolina. When police arrived, they found three University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students dead from gunshot wounds. They were Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

The suspected shooter, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, lives in the same apartment complex. Hicks turned himself into police and officials say he is cooperating.

U.S. wife insists husband killed Muslim students over parking dispute

Police arrest a man in the U.S. university town of Chapel Hill because they say he shot and killed three U.S. college students who were Muslim. The wife of the man accused of the murders says he killed the 3 students over a parking dispute, others are calling it a religious hate crime.

Since all three students were Muslim and the women wore head scarves indicating such, there were immediate concerns this may be a hate crime.

The hashtag #Muslimlivesmatter was started by users of the social media site Twitter and the father of the two female victims said he believes it was a religious hate crime. A category of crimes in the U.S. that also includes crimes committed because of racism and discrimination against sexual orientation and usually faces stiffer penalties than other motivations for murder or assault.

“This was an execution-style [sic]. This was a hate crime from a neighbor our children spoke about,” The female victims father, Mohammad Abu-Salha said. “They were uncomfortable. He came to their apartment more than once. Condescending, threatening and despising, talking down to them.”

Police said the shooting seems to have been motivated by an ongoing dispute over parking spaces in the apartment complex. The suspect’s wife spoke to reporters, and said this was not a hate crime.

“I can say with absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion of the victims faith, but it was related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors,” Karen Hicks said.

Hicks has been charged with three counts of murder.

CCTV’s Jim Spellman contributed to this report<\em><\strong>