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Donations Pour In To Support Chapel Hill Shooting Victim's Fund For Syrian Refugees

02/11/2015 11:26 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015

Donations are pouring in to honor three Muslim students who were the victims of a shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were killed Tuesday evening in an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He is being held at Durham County Jail without bond.

Barakat, a Syrian-American, was enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry, according to the New Observer. He and his wife, who was planning to begin her dental studies at the school, helped propel a global dental-care initiative and aided people in the United States and the Middle East by providing care and supplies.

One project he was working on was called "Refugee Smiles," which focused on providing dental care to refugees of the Syrian War in Turkey and raise funds to support local dentists. He started a campaign on YouCaring.com to collect donations for the Syrian American Medical Society.

As of Wednesday morning, the fund had more than doubled its goal of $20,000, reaching over $49,000.

Barakat and Mohammad had only been married little more than a month before their deaths, according to CNN.

Police said an ongoing parking dispute may have been a motive, according to the Associated Press. However, there was speculation the shooting was hate crime. Hicks was allegedly critical of religion in social media posts and described himself as an "anti-theist” in support of “Atheists for Equality," according to the Independent.

The hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter began trending after the news broke.

Watch a video of Barakat for "Refugee Smiles" below.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated Yusor Mohammad was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated from North Carolina State University and was planning to start her dental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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