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Arts & Culture

'Saddened But Grateful': Chapel Hill Mayor Speaks Out On FBI Inquiry, Public Response

A picture of shooting victims Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha.
Yousef Abu-Salha

The FBI announced last night that it will open its own inquiry into the Chapel Hill shootings this week that left three young people dead.  

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told WUNC's Eric Hodge that he's grateful for the agency's help. He says it could be instrumental in determining whether the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, committed a hate crime.

"The motives of this individual are so foreign to all reasonable and peace-loving people. Its very difficult for any of us to understand how anyone could be motivated to behave in this way over any circumstance."

Kleinschmidt says it's unfortunate that such a tragic event has put Chapel Hill at the center of international news and social media attention, as withthe Twitter hashtag #ChapelHillShooting and #MuslimLivesMatter. But Kleinschmidt says it's a testament to the lives led by Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha. They were known for their generosity, kindness, and creativity.

"It underscores the strong emotions, the intense interest and caring, of people not only in Chapel hill but around the world of what happened to these extraordinary young people," Kleinschmidt said.

"Their gifts to our community were unparalleled, but like so many people in Chapel Hill and North Carolina State in Raleigh, they shared those gifts around the world."

He says the hopes the intense global interest and demand for answers will influence an expedient and thorough inquiry.

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