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Young Muslims Killed In North Carolina Honored At SDSU Vigil

People attend a candlelight vigil at San Diego State University on Feb. 12, 2015, to remember three young Muslims killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The three were college students.
People attend a candlelight vigil at San Diego State University on Feb. 12, 2015, to remember three young Muslims killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The three were college students.

About 75 people gathered Thursday night at San Diego State University to remember the lives of three young people who were shot to death this week in North Carolina.

Police said Abu-Salha, 21, was killed Tuesday along with her husband, Deah Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, in a parking dispute at a Chapel Hill apartment building. Some fear the slaying of the three young Muslims, all college students, may have been a hate crime.

Elias Purmal, an SDSU senior and president of the Muslim Student Association, said he and the club organized the candlelight vigil to honor the three who were killed.

"I thought the three lives deserved to be remembered," said Purmal, 21. "The circumstances of their deaths was tragic. By holding this vigil, we are telling everyone that this sort of thing shouldn't happen."

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Purmal, who learned of the shootings from his cousin who lives in North Carolina, said Barakat was well-known in the Muslim community.

"He was a shining star," Purmal said. "I didn't see him often but I considered him a friend."

The SDSU vigil was held in front of Hepner Hall and was co-sponsored by other student groups, including Mecha.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who lives in the same apartment building as Barakat, was charged with three counts of murder. Police are investigating whether the crime was motivated by hate.

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