Gunman Who Killed Muslim Neighbors Displayed Warning Signs

Gunman Craig Stephen Hicks of North Carolina shot his three Muslim neighbors over a parking spot, police say.

Hick's neighbors and his wife, Karen, corroborated the story saying Hicks and the victims had a longstanding feud over parking. Neighbors said arguments were common between the victims and Hicks. 

The father of two of the victims called the shooting a hate crime. "This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime," Mohammad Abu-Salha said. "This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far."

Reuters reports that Hicks had a history of posting anti-religious messages on Facebook. 

Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues

Though Hicks disparaged religion publicly and displayed gun photos on social media, those traits don't necessarily mean someone is on the edge of murder. Some of the actions his wife and neighbors described do fit in the U.S. Government's warning signs of a mental health problem. For example, feeling angry, experiencing mood swings, fighting with others, and thinking about harming them are all cause for concern.

Other red flags include having low energy, eating and sleeping too much or too little, having helpless or hopeless feelings, getting caught up in negative emotions like frustration, smoking excessively, abusing drugs or alcohol, problems doing everyday life tasks, and thinking of hurting yourself. Only those close to Hicks know if he was experiencing any of those signs, but if you recognize them in someone you love, talk to them about getting help.

If you recognize those symptoms in yourself, reach out to a therapist. You can find one via the search page on WebPsychology. Ignoring mental pain prolongs your own suffering, and as the North Carolina shooting shows, it can devastate other lives as well.