Nonprofit honoring Chapel Hill murder victims opens in Raleigh

EMBED </>More Videos

The "Light House" opened in Raleigh (WTVD)

Exactly two years after three students were murdered in Chapel Hill, their family and friends are honoring their memory with the opening of the "Light House."

An open house was held for the media Friday. Organizers will hold a public event at 7 p.m. at the Tarboro Road Community Center. They'll then walk across the street to the house.

The southeast Raleigh home on North Tarboro Street serves nonprofits as an incubator for the organizations and by providing office space. "The Light House Project" also provides financial support to some nonprofits.

Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan were killed at a Chapel Hill apartment complex in 2015.


Barakat owned the home and was renting it out to help pay for his tuition.

Family and friends restored it and called it the "Light House" because Deah means light in Arabic.

"We decided that the best way to help youth programs, as was my brother's dream, and the best way to kind of be able to support the different types of programs would be to offer an incubator for nonprofit programs so we offer fiscal sponsorship and office space to faith-based programs targeting the youth," said Deah's brother, Farris Barakat.

Barakat said two faith-based nonprofits are using the home. He said they hope other nonprofits utilize the house. It is open to organizations of all faiths. Nonprofits should reach out to The Light House Project for more information.


Deah Barakat, 23, was a UNC dental student. Yusor, 21, graduated from NC State and was about to join him at the dental school. Razan, 19, attended NC State.

The couple's neighbor, Craig Hicks, is accused of killing them in what investigators say may have been a dispute over parking at the complex.

A judge ruled in April of 2015 that prosecutors can seek the death penalty against the 46-year-old. He's been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and is being held at a state prison in Raleigh pending trial.

There have been several continuances and it is unclear when the death penalty trial will begin.

Barakat's family says the murder was a hate crime against the Muslim students.

The US Attorney's Office of the Middle District of North Carolina is still trying to determine whether it qualifies as a hate crime.

The home displays these powerful words by Martin Luther King Jr:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

Barakat's friends and family say the home carries on Deah's legacy.

"I think that he would happy to see all the work that has been done in his name," said Noreen Elnady, a family friend.

"I definitely think he'd be proud," said Farris Barakat.
Related Topics:
chapel hill newsshootingmurderRaleigh
(Copyright ©2018 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)