CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –
“A neighbor of a Chapel Hill man charged with fatally shooting three Muslim students Tuesday night described him as “very angry,” and many in their community werefrightenedby him.
“Chapel Hill police officers arrested46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks on Tuesday on first-degree murder chargesin connection with the deaths of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
“The three, who were students at UNC and N.C. State, were shot to death at the Finley Forest Condominiums on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill.
“While Maness said many in their community feared Hicks, a spokesman for Durham Technical Community College described a man who was an “exemplary student.”
“Durham Tech spokesman Carver Weaver said Hicks enrolled in 2012 and was seeking three certificates in paralegal studies. Weaver said he had a nearly 3.9 GPA.
“On social media, Hicks presented a person who felt spurred by religion,describing himself as an ordained atheist minister, while also identifying with anti-theism, a belief that opposes all forms of religion.
“I give your religion as much respect as your religion gives me,” Hicks wrote. “There’s nothing complicated about it, andI have every right to insult a religionthat goes out of its way to insult, to judge and to condemn me as an inadequate human being — which your religion does with self-righteous gusto.”
“He continued, “When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me. If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I. But given that it doesn’t, and giventhe enormous harm that your religion has done in this world, I’d say thatI have not only a right, but a duty, to insult it, as does every rational, thinking person on this planet.
“Because the moment that your religion claims any kind of jurisdiction over my experience, you insult me on a level that you can’t even begin to comprehend. Even if your beliefs had substance, the arrogance of that would be insult enough. But the fact that they have no substance, and are merelya transparent raft of delusions and lies, magnifies the insult enormously.”