Statement to the Community from Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt

Our community has been rocked by a horrible crime with the shootings of three young people. On behalf of the Chapel Hill community, I ask that you join with me in remembering the parents, family and friends of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in your thoughts and prayers. I offer them my heartfelt condolences.

The assailant is in custody after turning himself into police. I have full confidence this crime is being thoroughly investigated. The Chapel Hill Police Department is using all available resources to determine whether hate was a motivating factor. All we know for certain at this time is that it was a senseless and tragic act.

I share strong feelings of outrage and shock with my fellow citizens and University students — as well as concerned people everywhere. We do not know whether anti-Muslim bias played a role in this crime, but I do recognize the fear that members of our community may feel.  Chapel Hill is a place for everyone, a place where Muslim lives matter.

These deaths represent an incomprehensible loss. I believe that we can find strength by acknowledging the fear and outrage that this act instills, coming together to ask difficult questions, and lifting up all people in our community who are hurting.