The Facebook page of Craig Hicks, a Chapel Hill man who shot and killed three people on Tuesday night, includes a photo of his loaded gun.
“Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader,” Hicks captioned the photo.
As of Wednesday night, the photo had been shared and commented on 113 times. It was uploaded to his account on January 20.
The Chapel Hill Police Department has not said what type of gun was used to shoot the three Muslim victims, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Police could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening, but have said that Hicks is cooperating with them.
Most of the photos on Hicks’ Facebook page are memes with commentary against religions and religious people of all kinds, including Christians, Mormons, Muslims, and Jews. His Facebook profile photo is the logo for “Atheists for Equality” and he describes himself as a married former paralegal student at Durham Technical Community College. He also says that he was a certified auto parts dealer for 20 years in one of his posts.
The list of movies Hicks likes on his Facebook account includes Full Metal Jacket, Stigmata, and The Siege of Firebase Gloria. His TV likes include Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. His Facebook groups include two groups: “Atheism on Youtube” and a campaign group for LGBT equality. His music likes range from “Anything but Country” to Michael Jackson’s “HIStory.”
Some of Hicks’ most recent Facebook posts are relatively mundane, such as a cute video of a dog, but are largely photos with commentary about atheism.
“People say nothing can solve the Middle East problem,” reads one meme that Hicks shared. “Not mediation, not arms, not financial aid. I say there is something. Atheism.” The quote is credited to Jr. Grover.
Police and the town’s mayor have acknowledged widespread concerns that the shootings were hate crimes against Muslims.
“We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated, and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case,” said Police Chief Chris Blue in a statement. The statement on the department’s official Twitter account on the case came on Tuesday evening, within hours of the shooting.
Some in the Muslim community are calling for a federal investigation.
Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization, said on Wednesday that they want U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama to “directly and forcefully publicly condemn this heinous attack and remind the public that these acts have no place in civil society.”