Father: Chapel Hill Muslims were killed 'execution style'
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The three Muslim students shot dead Tuesday in Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed “execution style,” according to the father of two of the students.

"It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” Mohammad Abu-Salha told the Charlotte Observer Wednesday.

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Police in Chapel Hill have arrested Craig Stephen Hicks in the slayings, and in a statement Wednesday said a preliminary investigation indicates the crime "was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking."

Abu-Salha rejected that explanation, calling the shooting a "hate crime."

“This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”

He said that his daughter, who lived nextdoor to the suspect, had said she had “a hateful neighbor.”

Police have charged Hicks with shooting Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Barakat, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Hicks reportedly made anti-religion posts on social media, stirring speculation that the alleged attack might have been motivated by animosity toward Muslims.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called Wednesday for police to investigate the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime.

“Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.