“He was definitely aggressive, and he spoke harshly when he was upset.”
Yesterday, thousands of people descended on Raleigh, North Carolina to pay homage to the three muslims killed in this week’s brutal shooting in Chapel Hill.
At one point, the memorial tilted political as the father of one of the victims begged for a federal investigation into the murders:
In an impassioned speech to the assembly, the father of the two slain women implored President Obama and law enforcement to investigate the killings as a hate crime. “Please involve the F.B.I. Please investigate. Please look carefully,” said Dr. Mohammad Yousif Abu-Salha, a psychiatrist in nearby Clayton. “I have talked to lawyers. I have talked to law professors. This has hate crime written all over it!”
“It is all about making this country that they loved, where they lived and died, peaceful for everybody else,” Dr. Abu-Salha said.
Without uttering his name, Dr. Abu-Salha referred in his eulogy to the Facebook page of Mr. Hicks, the neighbor charged with the murders, where he frequently made clear his disdain for all religions. Dr. Abu-Salha asked people to ignore what he saw as defamatory depictions of Islam in the news media, and specifically in the current movie “American Sniper.”
I’m not going to sit here and throw stones at speakers at a memorial where emotions are running high. His child was in the ground.
That being said, over the past few days we’re learned a little more about Hicks. Neighbors and friends of the victims are coming forward with troubling accounts of the dynamic between Mr. Hicks and his neighbors:
From the New York Times:
“I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” said Samantha Maness, a resident of the complex. She said that Mr. Hicks had displayed “equal opportunity anger” and that “he kind of made everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”
Ms. Maness said Mr. Hicks would often seek to have cars towed from the complex’s lot, either because they did not have stickers or because he did not recognize them. And she said he would complain about noise — he was upset when she and her friends were playing a card game and he thought they were too noisy, and he was again upset when she pulled into the lot with music playing loudly in her car.
“He was definitely aggressive, and he spoke harshly when he was upset,” she said.
Mr. Hicks’s Facebook page suggests that he has a strong interest in atheism and is contemptuous of religion; the page is filled with posts and cartoons mocking the intelligence of people who believe in the Bible. His anger appeared to be aimed primarily at Christians — in fact, in 2010 he decried as hypocritical opposition by Christians to a much-debated proposal for a mosque to be built near ground zero in Manhattan.
“Equal opportunity anger?” I’m proud of the Times for publishing that.
From what the fact finders can tell, then, people were uncomfortable with this guy. He acted in anger, and confronted his neighbors while armed. (We’ll save the open carry debate for another time.) He openly expressed hostility and hatred to people of all creeds and didn’t seem to be shy about it.
Chapel Hill police haven’t ruled out the idea that the shooting was hate-motivated; Hicks’ wife Karen has come forward claiming that her husband was not prejudiced, in an attempt to stave off the wave of accusations in a case that has gone international. The FBI has joined the investigation, but hasn’t released any new information.
Keep praying for these families; we’ll keep any and all updates coming.DONATE
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