#ChapelHillShooting: Who is the alleged shooter Craig Hicks?

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Hicks is accused of shooting Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.

As the case develops and questions are raised. Who is the suspect and what are some of his beliefs?


Hicks is an ordained minister for the First Church of Atheism (yes, it’s a real thing), which is free to join. His account has remained inactive but still accessible.

Hicks’ Facebook profile reveals a disdain  for religion (that fuses atheism with anti-theism) and various ‘likes’ includes: ‘American Atheists, Inc. (Official),’ ‘The Atheist Truth,’ ‘Religion Poisons Everything,’ ‘The Militant Atheist,’ ‘Religion Must End,’ and ‘World Atheists: Lets Kick Islam and Christianity out of Africa’.

He quoted Richard Dawkins’s 9/11 essay in 2012 to explain his disdain for the Abramahic faiths:


In late 2013, Hicks shared a meme that denied any link between Islamophobia and racism, comparing it “Communistphobia.” A line often taken by prominent New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

A meme also shared by Islamophobic ideologue Robert Spencer over at Jihad Watch.

Gun culture

Hicks’s Facebook page reveals a love of guns, just last month, a photo was posted with the caption “Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader”.


In 2011, he wrote: “I guess after the horrible tragedy early this week in Arizona, all Glock pistols will officially be labeled “assault weapons.” While I never cared for Glocks personally, it stinks that anyone would blame a firearm rather than the operator of such firearm for such a terrible act. I think I’ll start blaming McDonalds for my weight problem, Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan, and Islam for terrorism.”

A profile on one gun forum suggests Hicks is a member of the National Rifle Association as the location and username matches other online profiles. The same username and location appears on Carolina Shooters Club. If the accounts do belong to Hicks, he also used a Flickr account to highlight his effiency with a gun. Photos that were perhaps at one point shared on the same gun forum. It is possible that this account on Gun Hub is Hicks.

Hicks registered on Debate.org and used the same patriotic photo (the flag of the United States behind a bald eagle). Another look on his Facebook reveals that Hicks self-identifies as a ‘Gun Toting Liberal’. Other ‘likes’ include ‘Gun Owners’ and ‘Hypocrisy and Stupidity of Gun Control Advocates’.

None of the above suggests a motive but helps us understand more about the alleged shooter as the story develops.