The suspect, Jason J. Eaton, 48, is now under arrest, Burlington police say.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee wrote on X, “This morning, ADC was contacted about the shooting, after reviewing the information, we have reason to believe that the shooting was motivated by the three victims being Arab.”
The ADC identified the shot students as Hisham Awartani, 20, of Brown University; Kinnan Abdalhamid, 20, of Haverford University; and Tahseen Ahmed, 20, of Trinity University.
WCAX-TV reported that the three men were shot on North Prospect Street around 6:25 p.m., and that police had not released a motive. Seven Days VT.com reported that the three men were shot “near the University of Vermont campus.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The ADC Says the 3 Men Were Harassed by a Man While They Were ‘Wearing a Kuffiyeh & Speaking Arabic’
According to the ADC, “The three victims were wearing a Kuffiyeh and speaking Arabic. A man shouted and harassed the victims. Then he proceeded to open fire, injuring all three. ADC calls on law enforcement in Vermont to investigate this shooting as a hate crime.”
NBC News reported that the Kuffiyeh “is a traditional scarf worn by people in parts of the Middle East. The scarf has become a symbol of Palestinian solidarity.”
ADC “has reached out to the DOJ and the FBI to also call on an immediate hate crimes investigation,” the post says.
The post quotes the ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub as saying, “We are praying for a full recovery of the victims, and will support the families in any way that is needed. Given the information collected and provided, it is clear that the hate was a motivating factor in this shooting.”
He added, “We call on law enforcement to investigate it as such. The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent.”
Heavy has reached out to Burlington police for comment. The Police Department has been silent on its social media pages about the incident.
The Palestinian Students Were on Their Way to a Family Dinner When They Were Shot
Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission to the U.K., revealed on X the three students were on their way to a family dinner.
“Three young Palestinian men, Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ali and Kenan Abdulhamid, students at Brown and other US universities, were shot last night on their way to a family dinner in Burlington, USA.,” he wrote on X.
“Their crime? Wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh. They are critically injured. And Six weeks ago, 6-year old Palestinian child was stabbed 26 times in a hate crime in Illinois. The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop. Palestinians everywhere need protection.”
The Men Are Graduates of Ramallah Friends School in Palestine
Ramallah Friends School wrote on Facebook that the men were graduates of that school, which is located in Ramallah, Palestine. The post read:
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. While we are relieved to know that they are alive, we remain uncertain about their condition and hold them in the light. We extend our thoughts and prayers to them and their families for a full recovery, especially considering the severity of injuries—as Hisham has been shot in the back, Tahseen in the chest, and Kinnan with minor injuries.
All three are students study at US universities; Hisham studies at Brown University, Kinnan studies at Haverford University, and Tahseen studies at Trinity College.
We stand united in hope and support for their well-being during this challenging time. Please hold our graduates and their families in the light.
A Local Television Station Confirmed That the 3 Young Men Are of ‘Palestinian Descent’
According to WCAX, the station “has confirmed that all three are young men of Palestinian descent.”
Two of the wounded men were “found injured on the scene, another man found injured a short distance away,” the television station reporting, adding that they were still alive.
MyNBC5 reported that the men were taken to a local medical center.
Seven Days VT reported that crime scene tape “extended around the back of an eight-unit apartment house. Around 8:30 p.m., an investigator was taking photos of items strewn across the building’s front yard and sidewalk.”
The condition of the wounded men was not released. However, NBC reported that, according to ADC, “two of them are currently in the intensive care unit and one ‘has sustained very critical and serious injuries.'”