Craig Stephen Hicks, sits in the Durham County courtroom for his first appearance in the shooting deaths of three University of North Carolina students on Feb. 11, 2015 in Durham, N.C.
Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty

Grand jury indicts Craig Hicks, alleged North Carolina shooter

Updated

Craig Stephen Hicks, the North Carolina man accused of shooting to death three young Muslim-Americans last week, has been indicted on three counts of first-degree murder, msnbc has confirmed.

A Durham County grand jury on Monday also indicted Hicks on one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, said trial court administrator Kathy Shuart.

Hicks, 46, turned himself into authorities after last Tuesday’s shooting in Chapel Hill, a tragedy that has rocked the community and sparked concerns that the violence may have been racially motivated. Thousands of people last week attended a funeral service for the three victims, Deah Barakat, 23, his new wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19.

Authorities said their preliminary investigation suggested the killings were the result of a simmering parking dispute. The families of the victims, however, insist the attack was racially motivated.

Hicks, on his Facebook page, had a history of posting anti-religious messages and photos. His wife has since spoken out, arguing the killings had nothing to do with race.

The FBI has opened a parallel inquiry to determine whether any federal laws were violated. Investigators have not ruled out classifying the killings as a hate crime.

Hicks’ court-appointed lawyer, Stephen Freeman, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Gun Violence and North Carolina

Grand jury indicts Craig Hicks, alleged North Carolina shooter

Updated