CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The families continue to struggle with the loss of their children, who were gunned down in Chapel Hill in Feb. 2015.
WNCN sat down with the mothers of Deah, Yusor and Razan to discuss what life is like one-year-later.RELATED: ‘Pain in my chest still squeezing me,’ says mother of Chapel Hill shooting victim
It’s an image many will never forget.
“Where’s my son? Where’s my son?” Namee Barakat says begging for answers from police after learning of a shooting at his son’s apartment in Chapel Hill.
“Where’s my son?” he asked.
Hours later, police said his son 23-year-old Deah Barakat, his newlywed wife 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad and her sister 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were murdered by their neighbor, Craig Hicks — execution style.
Three nights after the shootings, WNCN interviewed both fathers.
And now, nearly one year later, WNCN asked the mothers, Amira Bamyeh and Layla Barakat, how they are coping.
“We’re still healing, hopefully with time we’ll feel much better. We’re missing them, we’re missing them a lot,” said Bamyeh.
“Something big is missing from my life and my home.”
Barakat says it’s becoming more difficult as time goes on.
“Because you sense, you feel their absence more,” Barakat said. “It’s harder, it’s not getting easier,” she added.
Yusor and Razan’s bedrooms at their parents’ home are the way they left them before they died.
“And this one was gift from Deah. When he went to Florida,” said Bamyeh about a stuffed animal.
“Ha ha. Yep. She loved Basketball,” said Bamyeh proudly showing their many medals.
And Razans artistic talents. She wanted to be an architect.
Bamyeh says, every morning she still stops by their rooms and says good-morning to her girls, nicknamed Zee-Zee and Sue Sue.
“I come to their rooms and hug their pillows. It’s tough, but this is God’s wish and we accepted it.” Bamyeh said.
Bamyeh says she feels their presence, and that gives her peace. Barakat agrees.
“I feel it constantly. It’s not only when I go to his room. I feel the three of them are with me wherever I go. I feel them,” said Barakat.
“Yah, I can feel them,” Bamyeh added.
Bamyeh says in the days leading up the shootings, her daughter, Yusor expressed concern about Craig Hicks.
Bamyeh witnessed one of the encounters.
“I noticed he was talking to her and he was nervous. His voice was loud. She came back to me and I asked what’s wrong? She told me this neighbor, it’s the second time he gave me hard time,” said Bamyeh.
“Immediately I told her, let me talk to him and see what’s the problem. She said, no please mom, don’t talk to him. He’s my neighbor and with time we’ll become close neighbor,” Bamyeh added.
Bamyeh said she never thought it would escalate to deadly shootings.
“I don’t know why he just went to their apartment and with his gun and did what he did. There’s no cause. He planned it. That’s what I think, this is something that he planned,” Bamyeh said.
“I believe it’s because they’re Muslim,” Bamyeh added.
The parents spoke of sleepless nights…waking up from envisioning the torture their children went through.
“I keep thinking of how he shot my kids. Imagining them and still do the same thing right now,” Bamyeh said.
If Barakat could talk to Hicks, she would say: “He shot Deah again. Why did he shoot him again? He was helpless. You did so many, like 6 bullets in his body.”
“That second one is the killer. It killed me, because I realized he was the last. He saw it all. He lived it all. He lived the horror and why is that? I want to ask him why. I still don’t understand why,” Barakat added.
“Their legacy is alive and everywhere. Hicks will be sorry for the rest of his life,” Bamyeh said.
A legacy that now live on through these two mothers as they reflect on their childrens’ lives.
“They were kind, gentle smart kids,” Bamyeh said. “Loving, forgiving,” Barakat added.
“They loved to help others,” Bamyeh said
“Yusor, my sweet Yusor. With her curly hair and bright eyes,” Bamyeh said.
“And Razan, also, very pretty young lady with beautiful black hair and black eyes. I love her. She’s my Snow White. When I saw her in the coffin she always looked like Snow White and she was smiling,” Bamyeh added.
“Both of them hard worker, they have a goal and they achieved it.”
Barakat says that like Yusor and Razan, Deah would spend his free time helping others.
“They have the sense of responsibility that it’s a duty on them to do that,” Barakat said.