A gunman shot and killed three Muslim students, including one with links to a Palestinian charity, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Tuesday.
The victims were identified as Chapel Hill residents Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh.
The suspected shooter, identified as Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was being held in Durham County Jail on three counts of first-degree murder, the Chapel Hill News and Observer newspaper and other news outlets said.
Local reports said Barakat was a second-year student in dentistry and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha was planning to begin her dental studies in the fall.
Razan Abu-Salha was a student at North Carolina State University, according to the UNC university newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.
According to The Independent, Barakat, a sports fan and frequent social media user, had volunteered with an organization that provided dental care for Palestinians.
It's so freaking sad to hear people saying we should "kill Jews" or "Kill Palestinians". As if that's going to solve anything SMH
— Deah Barakat (@arabprodigy30) January 28, 2015
“It’s so freaking sad to hear people saying we should ‘kill Jews’ or ‘Kill Palestinians.’ As if that’s going to solve anything SMH,” he wrote on Twitter on January 28.
Hicks turned himself in, news reports said.
Chapel Hill is home to a campus of the University of North Carolina.
Police in Chapel Hill have not said what the motive of the shooting was.
Their website released a statement confirming the three deaths and saying the department is “questioning a person of interest in the crime and has reason to believe that there is no ongoing threat to the public.”