ORLANDO, Fla. - The FBI is now investigating the deaths of three University of North Carolina students to find out whether they were the result of a hate crime.
At the same time, students at the University of Central Florida joined others from across the state and country to remember the victims.
More than 150 students lined the walkway in a show of solidarity.
Many believe the victims were targeted because of religions.
“They were true heroes, not just for the Muslim or Arab community, but truly for the American community,” said Rasha Mubarak, of the Take on Hate campaign.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found fatally shot Tuesday at the couple’s Chapel Hill condominium in North Carolina.
The funeral crowd in North Carolina was so large it had to be moved from a mosque to an athletic field at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where all three studied before Barakat and Mohammad moved to Chapel Hill to pursue careers in dentistry.
A 46-year-old was charged in the murders that many believe was motivated by hate.
“It was a shocking feeling for Muslim Americans, Arab Americans and I think Americans in general,” Mubarak said.
Police first said the crime was spurred by a parking dispute, but as the FBI steps in, investigators said they’re looking at what role hate may have played, and if any federal laws were violated when the young victims were killed.
“Their legacy should be celebrated and never underestimated,” Mubarak said.
The Take on Hate campaign organized the service and said its goal is to continue to hold the media and elected officials accountable for how hate crimes are reported and prosecuted.