Vigil held in Los Angeles for slain Muslim students in North Carolina

Vigil held at USC for Muslim students killed in North Carolina

Solemnity marked a peace and prayer vigil held Wednesday night on USC’s campus, one day after three Muslim students in North Carolina were shot and killed inside their apartment.

Outside the university’s religious center, the crowd of about 75 people gathered after nightfall, among them students, professors and area professionals who heard about the vigil online.

To mourn and honor the three killed -- Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19 -- the crowd fell silent and held hands.

“It’s just a senseless act that should not be brushed aside or forgotten,” said Mia Cramer, 35, a manager at a real estate investment company who helped organize the vigil.

News of the shooting compelled her to gather with friends and honor the victims. “I felt this need” to pray, she said.

The university’s Muslim Students Union sponsored the gathering, said student Hisham Siddiqui, “to mourn the loss of life and provide students who are frightened a sense of security and community.”

The vigil at USC was one of dozens organized in California and across the country in the wake of the triple killing.

About 2,500 miles away, thousands of students, faculty and staff gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“We want the legacy of these three wonderful students to be a legacy of hope and understanding," university Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a statement.

On Friday, the Muslim Students Assn. will host a vigil at Meyerhoff Park at 5 p.m. and Cal State Long Beach’s Muslim Student Assn. has organized a vigil for 6 p.m. at Brotman Hall.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno

Times staff photographer Barbara Davidson contributed to this report.

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