World News

Attempted murder spotlights the distress of hate crime in Vermont

A 48 year-old man has been arrested for attempted murder after shooting three Palestinian students in Burlington, Vermont.

Jason J. Eaton opened fire on three 20-year-old Palestinian men – Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ahmed, and Kinnan Abdalhamid – near the University of Vermont on the 25th of November. The young men were visiting a relative for Thanksgiving. 

According to police reports, they were wearing traditional Palestinian headscarves called keffiyeh and were speaking Arabic when Eaton fired at least four rounds at them. He shot two of the men in the torso and the third one in his lower body. He did not communicate with the victims at all. 

All three students remained hospitalized on Sunday. Two are in stable condition, while one has sustained much more severe injuries.

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad released a statement: “In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime. And I have already been in touch with federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for that if it’s proven. But now that the victims are safe and receiving medical care, our next priority is identifying, locating, and apprehending the suspect. We’re working every investigatory angle on this case and will continue to provide reliable, factual information to the public while protecting the victims and our investigation.”

The victims’ families expressed their horror and suffering over the incident: “As parents, we are devastated by the horrific news that our children were targeted and shot in Burlington. At this time, our primary concern is their full recovery and that they receive the critical medical support they need to survive. We are extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of our children. We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice. We need to ensure that our children are protected and this heinous crime is not repeated. No family should ever have to endure this pain and agony. Our children are dedicated students who deserve to be able to focus on their studies and build their futures.”


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