While his suspected killer was in custody, the late Deah Barakat lived on in social media, as those moved by his murder and that of his wife and her sister paid respects online and pushed forward the humanitarian mission he'd planned to see through.
Barakat, 23, a graduate dental student at the University of North Carolina, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found shot dead on Tuesday night at a condominium complex in Chapel Hill.
Barakat had been fundraising for a dental care mission to help Syrian refugees this summer. The response to Barakat’s appeal on Youcaring.com exceeded the goal of $20,000 by time the news of the murders spread. By Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST, it surpassed $35,000.
Members of the Muslim community and others expressed shock and sadness as news of the triple murder spread. On Twitter, notes of condolence and outrage sent the #MuslimLivesMatter hashtag trending nationally.
The relatives of the victims began their own Facebook page to thank supporters. “Thank you for your prayers. Our families aren't shouldering the burden alone. So much support has poured in from so many great people,” one post stated. “Many, many amazing people have condemned this crime from across the world including many random people who seem to want to apologize for the heinous acts of this man. Muslims know all too well that the actions of few may not define the masses. Love shall overcome.”
The suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, turned himself into the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office after the shooting, and remains in custody.