NCSU to set up scholarship to honor Chapel Hill shooting victims


North Carolina State University will announce a new scholarship program to honor three Muslim students who were murdered in Chapel Hill more than a week ago.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Abu-Salha 21, both of Chapel Hill, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, were killed Feb. 10 at the Finley Forest Condominiums on Summerwalk Circle.

Barakat and Mohammad were recent graduates and newly-weds from N.C. State. Mohammad’s sister, Abu-Salha, was a current architecture student.

Barakat was in his second year of dental school at the University of North Carolina. Mohammad was set to attend the dental school in August.

Chancellor Randy Woodson, along with members of the Barakat and Abu-Salha families, will announce the new scholarship program at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the Park Alumni Center on Centennial Campus.

People around the world have already donated money to Project Refugee: Smiles in Barakat’s honor. Barakat wanted to raise $20,000 for the project, which benefitted Syrian refugee students in Turkey. So far funds have reached more than $468,000.

Mohammed also went to Turkey last summer to aid children there.

Before Mohammed’s death, she did an interview with StoryCorps on NPR, and said, “There’s so many different people from so many different places and backgrounds and religions — but here we’re all one, one culture.”

More than 300 vigils took place worldwide to honor the victims, including at NC State and UNC, according to NC State Muslim Student Association President Ali Sajjad.

“[Abu-Salha’s] dreams were big, she wanted to practice architecture,” said her former teacher and College of Design Dean Marvin Malecha at NC State’s vigil. “She had ideas for improving how people would live and worship, she was a bright face in my class.”

Since the shooting, the hashtags #muslimlivesmatter and #alllivesmatter have been trending on social media as the FBI investigates whether federal laws were violated.

Chapel Hill Police said an initial report indicated that a parking dispute led to the shooting deaths, but both families said they believe the shooting was a hate crime.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting.