Suspect in Chapel Hill killings described as troublemaker, obsessed with parking

February 12“>VIDEO LINK

Craig Stephen Hicks was feared by his neighbors. He obsessed over parking spaces and always appeared angry. He used to watch a movie about a man who goes on a shooting rampage over and over again. His ex-wife said he found the film hilarious.

And just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Hicks went to his neighbors’ apartment and shot the three people inside, authorities say.

What police have not established is why he allegedly did it. A preliminary investigation revealed that Hicks had previously clashed with his victims — husband and wife Deah Barakat and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Abu-Salha’s sister Razan — over parking spots in front of the apartment complex where they lived.

But the victims’ family and many onlookers around the world believe Hicks had another motivation: his victims’ religion. All three were Muslims of Arab descent, and the two women both wore religious head scarves.

[Chapel Hill murders: Why hate crimes are so hard to prove]

In his social media profiles and in the accounts of those who knew him, Hicks resists easy categorization. He describes himself on what appears to be his Facebook profile as a “gun-toting liberal” and an “anti-theist,” and vehemently condemned all forms of religion. But at a news conference Wednesday his wife, Karen, described him as someone who “champions the rights of others” and would not have killed three people because of their faith.

Hicks was known for his temper and confrontational behavior. His ex-wife, Cynthia Hurley, who divorced Hicks about 17 years ago, said his favorite film was “Falling Down,” in which a disgruntled and unemployed defense industry worker played by Michael Douglas goes on a shooting rampage.

“That always freaked me out,” Hurley told the Associated Press. “He watched it incessantly. He thought it was hilarious. He had no compassion at all.”

Meanwhile, Karen Hicks’s attorney, Robert Maitland, has suggested that mental illness may have led to the shooting.

“Obviously it’s not within the range of normal behavior for someone to shoot three people over parking issues,” Maitland said at Karen Hicks’s news conference. He declined to provide further details.

At Durham Technical Community College, where Hicks was studying to be a paralegal, he was seen as an “exemplary student,” school spokesman Carver Weaver told the Charlotte Observer. Hicks was described as opinionated but high-achieving and was said to help other students with their work.

But among his neighbors at the Finley Forest condominium complex, the leafy Chapel Hill enclave where Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha also lived, Hicks was infamous for being loud and aggressive.

“He kind of made everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” resident Samantha Maness told the Raleigh News and Observer. “He was very angry anytime I saw him.”

[Muslims doubt that religion wasn’t a factor in the killings]

Maness describes Hicks as particularly fixated on parking and noise. He was known for having unfamiliar cars towed and had confronted Maness for being too loud. Last year, she said, residents convened a meeting to discuss Hicks’s behavior, but nothing came of it.

Barakat, who lived near Hicks, was reportedly a frequent target of this anger. Barakat had lived there with his friend Imad Ahmad until December, when he married Abu-Salha. Ahmad told the Associated Press that Hicks would come to their door about once a month to complain that the two men were parking in a visitor’s spot as well as their own.

“He would come over to the door. Knock on the door and then have a gun on his hip saying, ‘You guys need to not park here,’ ” said Ahmad, a graduate student in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “He did it again after [Barakat and Abu-Salha] got married.”

Mohammad Abu-Salha, Yusor’s father, said his daughter told him about multiple confrontations with Hicks during the seven or so weeks she lived in the apartment. (Chapel Hill Police said they knew nothing of these incidents until after the killings.)

“This man came knocking at the door and fighting about everything with a gun on his belt, more than twice,” he told CNN. “She told us, ‘Daddy, I think he hates us for who we are and how we look.’ ”

But Maness said that Hicks had “equal opportunity anger” toward Finley Forest residents.

“I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly toward a lot of people in this community,” she said.

Hicks comes across as confrontational on social media as he was toward his neighbors, particularly when it comes to religion. In the “About” section of his Facebook profile he wrote: “If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I. But given that it doesn’t, and given the enormous harm that your religion has done in this world, I’d say that I have not only a right, but a duty, to insult it, as does every rational, thinking person on this planet.” He also describes himself as a Second Amendment rights advocate and was licensed to carry a concealed firearm. He posted an image of his loaded revolver three weeks before the shooting.

Such posts drew attention as speculation grew that the killings had been motivated by religious hatred. But Karen Hicks rejected that idea during her news conference.

“That is one thing that I do know about him. He often champions on his Facebook page for the rights of many individuals. For same-sex marriages, abortion, race,” she said. “He just believed — and I know, that’s just one of the things I know about him — that everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are or what you believe.”

“It is a simple matter, it has nothing to do with the religious faith of the victims,” Maitland, Hicks’s attorney, added. “It has nothing to with anything but the mundane issue of this man being frustrated day in and day out with not being able to park where he wanted to park and, unfortunately, these victims were there at the wrong time at the wrong place.”

Chapel Hill Police said that they will continue to investigate the possibility that the shooting was hate-motivated. Hicks was transferred from Durham County Jail to Central Prison in Raleigh on Wednesday because of safety concerns, authorities said, though they did not indicate whether there had been threats against him. He is being held without bail until his probable cause hearing, which is set for March 4.

Liberal Media in Denial: Suspected Chapel Hill Shooter’s Leftist Ideology not Important

“Right-wingers” absurdly blamed despite suspected killer’s leftist beliefs
Liberal Media: Suspected Chapel Hill Shooter's Leftist Ideology not Important

by Mikael Thalen | | February 15, 2015

Left-wing media outlets wasted no time in blaming Tuesday’s tragic Chapel Hill shooting on their political adversaries after the ideological leanings of suspected shooter Craig Stephen Hicks became apparent.

Hicks, who is charged with the brutal murders of three Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was found to be a hardened atheist, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) supporter and Rachel Maddow fan after investigators and reporters began searching for a motive this week.

According to multiple online news sites such as Salon and Raw Story, who carried an Alternet article entitled “Angry, armed and white: The typical profile of America’s most violent extremists,” Hicks’ ideology is a completely irrelevant point.

“On Thursday, sought to replay that script and portrayed Hicks as a liberal, by reporting his Facebook likes included Rachel Maddow, gay marriage groups, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others,” the article states. “That relabeling is absurd on many levels, because Hicks appears to fit the psychological profile of violent extremists—regardless of their ideological stripes—and that includes many white Americans.”

Alternet instead argued that the suspected shooter’s white skin and history of gun ownership were the only data points worth examining.

“Hicks had a state-issued concealed handgun permit and was a ‘champion of Second Amendment rights,’” says the article.

Using statements from the SPLC, while conveniently ignoring the suspected shooter’s support for the group, the article continued by desperately and falsely connecting Hicks’ to the “radical right.”

“‘… perpetrators spend many years on the radical right, absorbing extremist ideology, before finally acting out violently,’” an SPLC quote from the article states. “That summation strongly resembles Craig Stephen Hicks.”

According to the author, the obvious remedy to the horrific incident would be stricter gun control and a greater focus on “right-wingers” by law enforcement.

“Just as the Violence Policy Center hopes the Chapel Hill killings will push politicians to reconsider concealed handgun permit laws, SPLC hope the threat of lone-wolf violent extremists—especially white right-wingers—will prompt police and mainstream media to stop demonizing Muslims,” the article says.

The SPLC also made no mention of the fact that Hicks’ followed their organization on Facebook when commenting on the shooting Friday.

“Hicks’ Facebook page was filled with statements against religion of all types, although Islam was not particularly singled out,” the SPLC wrote. “Hicks also was a gun enthusiast, as evidenced by his many postings on gun websites and also an Amazon ‘wish list’ that included such items as rifle scopes.”

Despite their constant and obsessive attempts to link nearly all violent extremism to “patriot groups,” actual extremists have admitted to using SPLC information when searching for victims.

In 2012, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian organization came under fire after the gunman learned of the group on the SPLC’s website.

Speaking with the FBI in custody, the shooter stated that he targeted the organization after seeing it listed as an “anti-gay” hate group by the SPLC.

The fact that left-wing organizations constantly attempt to link any and all violence to the political right, but claim such links are unimportant when the violence comes from a fellow leftist, shows that such groups are not truly interested in stopping hate. Instead they are only interested in demonizing all opposition by ignoring logic and capitalizing on violence.