The North Carolina man accused of fatally shooting three members of a Muslim family Tuesday had a dozen firearms and loaded magazines and cases of ammunition in his home, according to search warrants released Friday.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of his neighbors Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister; Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, who were killed in their home near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
Search warrants in the case say officers responding to a report of gunfire at 5:11 p.m. found Deah Barakat fatally shot in the head as they approached the apartment, NBC station WNCN reported. Yusor and Razan were found inside the apartment.
"One female was lying in the kitchen, near the dishwasher, and another female was lying in the doorway of the next room, near the kitchen. Both subjects showed no signs of life and were wearing Muslim headdresses," the warrant said, according to WNCN. Investigators found three handguns, several rifles and shotguns, and numerous loaded magazines and cases of ammunition at Hicks’ home, the station reported.
Chapel Hill police said a preliminary investigation indicates Hicks was "motivated by an ongoing dispute over parking," but police say they are investigating whether bias may have also played a role. The victims' families have called the killings a hate crime, and believe their slain loved ones were targeted because they were Muslim.
President Barack Obama on Friday called the killings "brutal and outrageous." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also offered the full resources of the Justice Department to the FBI, which is conducting a preliminary inquiry to determine whether any hate crime laws were violated.
"No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship," President Barack Obama said Friday, while offering condolences to the victims’ families.
— Elisha Fieldstadt