More than a hundred people gathered at San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday night to mourn three young Muslims shot to death earlier this week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
One of the victims was the sister of an S.F. General physician, Dr. Suzanne Barakat.
During Thursday night's event, a crowd watched silently as a group of students kneeled to pray on the grass in front of the hospital's Family Health Center. Earlier in the day, thousands had gathered for a funeral in North Carolina for the victims -- Barakat's brother, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
Authorities in Chapel Hill have charged a neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, with three counts of first-degree murder. Police and Hicks' wife have suggested the shooting arose from a dispute over parking. Family members of the victims say the killing was a hate crime and have called on the FBI to investigate. (The FBI said late Thursday it's opening a "parallel preliminary inquiry" into the killings.)
Dr. Barakat's colleagues praised the three victims' commitment to community service and urged those gathered Thursday night to share their example. Barakat's brother was a student at the University of North Carolina graduate school of dentistry and had been raising funds to travel to Turkey to treat Syrian refugee children.
Those in attendance joined in the global outrage at the killings and expressed fear in their aftermath.
"I once felt safe," said Walid Hamud, who is attending medical school in San Francisco, a few hours from his family. "Now I tell my wife not to visit me on Amtrak because she wears a hijab. I'll drive instead."
Last year, Yusor Abu-Salha recorded a conversation with a former teacher for public media's StoryCorps project. Here's part of what Abu-Salha said, as recounted in NPR's Two-Way blog:
"Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture.
"And that's the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn't matter where you come from. There's so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions — but here we're all one, one culture. And it's beautiful to see people of different areas interacting, and being family. Being, you know, one community."