Man arrested for allegedly shooting 3 Palestinian college students

 Man arrested for allegedly shooting 3 Palestinian college students


In Burlington, Vermont, a suspect named Jason J. Eaton, 48, has been arrested in relation to the shooting of three Palestinian college students. Eaton was apprehended by members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who were conducting a neighborhood canvas.

Upon their arrival at his residence, Eaton reportedly told an ATF agent that he had been expecting them, asked for a lawyer, and admitted to having a gun inside his home. Following a warranted search, authorities discovered a legally obtained gun linked to bullet casings found at the crime scene, statement.

Chittenden County State Attorney Sarah George announced at a press conference that Eaton has been charged with three counts of attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. It is currently unclear if he has appointed an attorney.

The victims of the shooting were Hisham Awartani of Brown University, Kinnan Abdalhamid of Haverford College, and Tahseen Ahmed of Trinity University. Two of them were wearing Palestinian keffiyehs at the time of the attack, during which the shooter fired at least four shots without speaking and then fled, according to ABC News.

The attack occurred while the victims were conversing in a mix of English and Arabic. All three victims, two of whom are U.S. citizens and one a legal resident, were in Burlington visiting relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday, press release.

Family members revealed at the press conference that Abdalhamid and Ahmed are recovering, while Awartani faces a lengthy recovery due to a spinal injury. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and other authorities are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime, with the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee suggesting the shooting was motivated by the victims’ Arab descent.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders expressed his shock and distress over the shooting in a post on X (formerly Twitter), condemning hate and calling for a full investigation. The victims’ families, in a statement shared by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, emphasized their concern for their children’s safety and recovery and highlighted the need to protect them and prevent such crimes in the future. They also noted rising tensions in the U.S. and the Middle East, particularly since the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, previously offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting.

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