(UnitedVoice.com) – Kinnan Abdalhamid, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, and Hisham Awartani were walking near the University of Vermont in Burlington on November 25 when someone shot them. The three were on their way to visit family at the time of the attack. Law enforcement is now investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
The day after the attack, Burlington Police shared a joint statement by the families of the three 20-year-old college students. The parents said they were “devastated” by the news that their children were shot. They expressed appreciation for the doctors and medical staff who were “working tirelessly to save [their] children’s lives.”
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
The men, who are all of Palestinian descent, are expected to survive. However, Elizabeth Price, Awartani’s mother, told the press that her son is severely injured after the bullet hit his spine. She explained to NPR that the doctors told the family that he’d likely be paralyzed and won’t be able to walk again. Her son is an archeology and mathematics student at Brown University. When the war broke out between Israel and Hamas, the family decided he should stay in the US for the holidays instead of flying to the West Bank because it’s safer in America.
Ahmed, a student at Trinity College in Connecticut, was shot in the chest. Abdalhamid, who studies at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, suffered minor injuries.
The day after the shooting, police arrested Jason J. Eaton, 48, and charged him with three counts of attempted second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty. The men were shot outside of the apartment building where he lived.
At the time of the attack, two of the men were wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves. They were allegedly speaking a hybrid of Arabic and English, too. Law enforcement officials have cautioned against making any assumptions about the case. They do not yet have a motive. However, the Department of Justice is investigating the possibility that it was a hate crime.
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