Triple-murder suspect is a Belleville native

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - The suspect in the killing of three unarmed Muslim college students in North Carolina is a Belleville native who still has an ex-wife and daughter in the area.

The triple-shooting has triggered a nationwide response and raised questions over the motive for the crime.

The suspect's ex-wife didn't want to do an on-camera interview, nor did she want to comment about her ex-husband's alleged crime.

We did learn the suspect Craig Hicks was born and raised in Belleville.

The shooting happened Tuesday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"I just heard gunshots I don't know what building it came from but I heard kids screaming," said a neighbor on a 911 call.

Showing no emotion, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks appeared inside a North Carolina courtroom, where he was charged with three counts of first-degree murder for shooting three of his young neighbors.

Police say Hicks turned himself in Tuesday night after the shooting.

Court documents link Hicks to the Metro East. He was married and divorced in 2004, and the couple had one child together.

Those same court documents show he moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2004.

Hicks' ex-wife, who still lives in the area, says he didn't have many friends nor a steady job.

The family of the victims say they believe it was a hate crime.

"This was an execution style, this was a hate crime from a neighbor. Our children spoke about, it's not what I believe it's what my daughter believed. She said 'Dad, I think he hates us for what we are and how we look,'" said Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Police and his Hicks' wife, Karen Hicks, say the shooting was motivated over a parking space.

"I can say with my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or victims' faith," said Karen Hicks.

An attorney says Craig Hicks does have a concealed weapons permit. He is being held without bond, and his next court appearance is set for next month.


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