A motive for the shooting may never be known. But interviews with more than a dozen of the victims’ friends and family members, lawyers, police officers and others make two central points: Before the shootings, the students took concerted steps to appease a menacing neighbor, and none were parked that day in a way that would have set off an incident involving their cars.
If those accounts do not prove what kind of malice was in Mr. Hicks’s heart, the details that emerge indicate that whatever happened almost certainly was not a simple dispute over parking.
They were all parked that day in a permitted way that didn’t interfere with Hicks – one in their assigned space, one in an unassigned space, one on the street. Nobody was parked in Hicks’s space.
The murders happened at Finley Forest, a complex on the eastern edge of this city popular with graduate students at the nearby University of North Carolina. Mrs. Hicks owns 270 Summerwalk Circle, a second-floor unit in Building 20 that looks out south over the parking lot. Her husband moved in after the couple married seven years ago; it was his second marriage after a disastrous first.
The contrast between the paunchy, balding Mr. Hicks and the rest of the complex’s residents was stark. Many were aspiring professionals and academics at a premier public university. Mr. Hicks was unemployed, taking night classes at a community college in hopes of becoming a paralegal. He spent long hours in his apartment with a collection of at least a dozen guns, including four pistols and a Bushmaster AR-15. Mrs. Hicks told her lawyer that Mr. Hicks would stare out the second-floor window, obsessing over neighbors’ parties, patterns and parking.
Ah; class. The Times is hinting that that could have played a role, and who knows, maybe it did. Nobody knows, and perhaps nobody ever will.
Hicks was increasingly obnoxious to them in the weeks before the murders. There’s speculation that it may have been the hijabs that pissed him off.
There is no question Mr. Hicks had a problem with religion. His Facebook page was full of quotations and memes denigrating Christianity. On Jan. 27, he shared a graphic that may have made reference to Islam: “People say there is nothing that can solve the Middle East problem … I say there is something. Atheism.”
Well, I have a problem with religion too, and you can find masses of evidence for that on Facebook. I don’t kill people though. One of the reasons I have a problem with religion is the fact that it can be used to justify violence and murder.