WASHINGTON — As police continue to investigate whether the shooting deaths of three Muslim students in North Carolina was a hate crime, a vigil was held for them on Thursday night in D.C.
A neighbor has been charged with the murders, and police say an ongoing dispute over parking may have played a role.
“To shoot someone execution-style over a parking spot — that just sounds too absurd to me,” said Adam Sbita.
“Me personally, living here, born and raised in the U.S., being a victim of hate and discrimination because I’m Muslim, because of my beard, and because my mom and sister wear hijab — it’s very hard to think that religion did not play a role,” he added.
Sbita attended the vigil in Dupont Circle where a large crowd of people held candles as well as signs that included #DC4ChapelHill.
Also at the vigil was Yasmeen Zamamiri, who knows the victims’ families.
“Our purpose is not to protest and not to call it a hate crime, not to politicize this in any way, but simply to shed light on who they were. The amazingness of them, their souls, how beautiful they were as people, and how no one deserves to die like this,” she said.
During the vigil, those in attendance were asked to lower their heads in a moment of silent prayer for the victims and their families.