Chapel Hill: Opinion

The Conversation: Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Roy Roth and Steven Earl Salmony


Our community has been rocked by a horrible crime with the shootings of three young people. On behalf of the Chapel Hill community, I ask that you join with me in remembering the parents, family and friends of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in your thoughts and prayers. I offer them my heartfelt condolences.

I have full confidence this crime is being thoroughly investigated. The Chapel Hill Police Department is using all available resources to determine whether hate was a motivating factor. All we know for certain at this time is that it was a senseless and tragic act surrounding a longstanding dispute.

I share strong feelings of outrage and shock with my fellow citizens and university students – as well as concerned people everywhere. We do not know whether anti-Muslim bias played a role in this crime, but I do recognize the fear that members of our community may feel. Chapel Hill is a place for everyone, a place where Muslim lives matter.

These deaths represent an incomprehensible loss. I believe that we can find strength by acknowledging the fear and outrage that this act instills, coming together to ask difficult questions, and lifting up all people in our community who are hurting.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt

Chapel Hill

Words and tears

Chapel Hill and Orange County and indeed many across this state and nation are trying to come to terms with a tragedy that happened this past week. Three of our neighbors were brutally killed in a senseless act of violence. Being so close in time to its happening we remain stunned, mute in the face of such darkness.

Our prayers go out to the families of these young adults just beginning their journey through life. Words and tears cannot change what has happened, but we can ensure that they are remembered for the positive impact they have had on their friends and neighbors.

We may never know what triggered this tragedy but we do know this: we will not forget Deah Shaddy Barakat; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. We will strive to honor their lives; to work harder for good; and to build a more accepting, inclusive community, county and country. Like them we will work to help those in need. We will work toward peace, understanding and unity. These young adults came here because of what Chapel Hill and Orange County represents: the long-held belief that education should be available to everyone. We will continue to dedicate our efforts and resources to ensuring that that belief becomes a reality for all. Our gift to them must be to strengthen our beliefs and live our true principles so that we can make our community a guiding beacon for all.

In Orange County we feel the loss of these deaths and extend our condolences to our communities, the families and the university community. As a county, we stand together, united in goals of peace, human dignity and safety.

Earl McKee


Orange County Board of Commissioners