North Carolina 'New Atheist' Charged with Killing Three Arab Students Execution Style

Yesterday, three Arab students in Chapel Hill – newlyweds Deah Barakat and Yusor Mohammad as well as her sister Razan Abu-Salha – were brutally murdered, with execution-style shots to the head. The same day, a man, Craig S. Hicks, was arrested and charged with three counts of murder.


For hours, no national media outlet reported the story, provoking the hashtag #ChapelHillShooting, which soon trended worldwide. Finally, after midnight, Buzzfeed became the first national outlet to report on the killings.

Craig Hicks has been identified as a 46-year-old North Carolina man, and as of this writing, his apparent Facebook page is still up. Perusing the page reveals the fact that Hicks was both a fervent New Atheist – his page is littered with references to Bill Maher and disdain for religious belief – and a gun enthusiast.

Here he is showing off a pistol he owned last month:

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"597029","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"286","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]

Here he is quoting Richard Dawkins about how 9/11 made him hate religion:

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"597031","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"223","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]

And here he is proclaiming his fears of gun control:

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"597032","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"191","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]

Also, an apparent Amazon wishlist for “Craig Hicks” shows off a variety of armaments, including sniper scopes and a ghillie suit – a kind of camouflage suit. 

Although the students appear to have been targeted for their religion, police officials are saying that the motive for the shooting has yet to be determined. The New York Times has reported that a long-running dispute about a parking space might have been involved.

As the Muslim community in the area mourns, they've set up the Facebook page “Our Three Winners” to commemorate the lives of the three young souls taken from them far too soon.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.