Chapel Hill shooting: Victim's fundraiser for Syrian refugees surges to $300,000

Deah Barakat was raising money to help provide emergency dental treatment when he was shot

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A fundraising page set up by one of the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting before he was murdered has seen a huge surge in donations.

Deah Barakat, killed in his home alongside his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, had set up the page to raise money to provide dental treatment for children displaced by the Syrian conflict.

Donations are nearing $300,000 (around £200,000) – 15 times Mr Barakat’s original goal before he died.

The 23-year-old dental student was to travel to Turkey with a team of ten dentists this summer and provide emergency dental care in refugee areas.

“This is definitely not the end of your life's work,” wrote one person on the page.

“Your charity and humanitarian efforts will live on beyond your lifetime, and I hope that brings some comfort to your family.”

The exact sum raised as of Friday morning is $291,484 (£189,509).


“Overall, the dental situation in Syria and at the refugee camps has become desperate. Despite the governments' efforts to accommodate the overwhelming influx of refugees, facilities are not equipped to handle the number of patients with the limited funds available,” Mr Barakat wrote on the fundraising page.

The young clinician regularly posted messages on his Twitter page urging people to buy dental products to raise money for charity.

In one widely quoted message, he tweeted: “It's so freaking sad to hear people saying we should ‘kill Jews’ or ‘kill Palestinians’. As if that's going to solve anything.”

Police were called to the apartment building where the three young people were shot at around 5.11pm on Tuesday.

The shooting took place on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

A 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder.

Local police chief Chris Blue said: “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”