On November 25, near the University of Vermont in Burlington, Kinnan Abdalhamid, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, and Hisham Awartani were shot while walking. At the time of the incident, the trio was en route to visit their family. Authorities are currently probing the shooting as a potential hate crime.
Following the assault, Burlington Police released a collective statement from the families of the three 20-year-old college students the day after the incident. The parents shared their profound anguish upon discovering that their children had been shot. Additionally, they expressed appreciation for the unwavering dedication of doctors and medical staff working tirelessly to safeguard their children’s well-being.
The individuals, all of Palestinian heritage, are anticipated to recover. Nonetheless, Elizabeth Price, Awartani’s mother, informed the media that her son sustained severe injuries as the bullet struck his spine.She clarified that the medical professionals informed the family that there’s a high likelihood of him being paralyzed and unable to walk again. Her son is a student at Brown University, studying archaeology and mathematics.
Official joint statement from the families of Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, three Palestinian college students shot in Vermont: pic.twitter.com/FqHUOVR5lZ
— IMEU (@theIMEU) November 26, 2023
At the onset of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the family chose to have him remain in the United States for the holidays instead of traveling to the West Bank, deeming it a safer option in America. Ahmed, a Trinity College student in Connecticut, was shot in the chest, while Abdalhamid, studying at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, suffered minor injuries.
On the day following the shooting, law enforcement apprehended Jason J. Eaton, 48, and accused him of three counts of attempted second-degree murder. He entered a plea of not guilty. The individuals were shot outside the residential complex where Eaton resided.
During the assault, two of the individuals were adorned with Palestinian keffiyeh scarves and purportedly conversing in a mix of Arabic and English. Law enforcement has advised against making premature assumptions about the incident, as they are currently without a discernible motive.
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice is exploring the potential that this incident may be categorized as a hate crime.