Three Palestinian-American college students were shot and injured in a suspected hate crime in Burlington, Vermont, on Saturday evening.
The statement, released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, identified the students as Hisham Awartani, a student at Brown University in Rhode Island; Kinnan Abdalhamid, a student at Haverford College in Pennsylvania; and Tahseen Ahmad, a student at Trinity College in Connecticut.
According to the Burlington Police two of the victims are US citizens and one is a legal resident, and they are all receiving medical care, according to a Sunday news release from the Burlington Police Department. “Two are stable, while one has sustained much more serious injuries.”
Hisham, Kinnan, and Tahseen were in Burlington to visit Hisham Awartani’s grandmother for the Thanksgiving holiday and were going on a walk before dinner when they were shot, according to Marwan Awartani, a former Palestinian education minister, who is speaking on behalf of the victims’ families.
The three young men are graduated from Ramallah Friends School in Ramallah, Palestine, yesterday evening the school released a statement expressing their deepest condolences and distress by the incident.
“Ramallah Friends School board, administration, staff and community are deeply distressed by the recent incident involving three of our graduates, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed who were shot and injured last evening in Burlington, VT.”
One of the victims, Awartani, was shot in the spine but is stable, according to Maayeh, who visited his mother in Ramallah. His mother, Elisabeth Price, is trying to leave Ramallah and travel to the US to see her son, Maayeh said.
“We are praying that he can walk,” Maayeh said.
“In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad wrote in an earlier news release.
Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom, posted on X about the incident, naming the students and identifying them as “three young Palestinian men.”
“The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop. Palestinians everywhere need protection,” Zomlot wrote on X.
The shooting comes amid heightened tensions and hate crimes in the US in the weeks since October 7, when Hamas launched The Al-Aqsa Flood operation in Israel and the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
In October, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was stabbed to death by his family’s landlord in a case authorities are calling a hate crime.
A suspect, identified as Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested on Sunday afternoon.
Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested Sunday afternoon near the scene of the attack, the Burlington Police Department said in a news release. Authorities said Eaton lives in an apartment building in front of the shooting scene and a search of his home uncovered evidence that gave investigators “probable cause to believe that Mr. Eaton perpetrated the shooting.”