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.