Three Palestinian students were shot and wounded near the University of Vermont over the weekend. According to a report from the Burlington Police Department, two of the three 20-year-old men are in stable condition, while the other is in serious condition.
Officers said that the victims were on their way to a Thanksgiving dinner at one of their relative’s homes, with two of them wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, when the shooter fired at least four rounds from a pistol – striking all three students. Officers from the Burlington Police Department, the University of Vermont police department and other local forces immediately responded to the scene. “Without speaking, he (the shooter) discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled on foot,” police said.
In a joint statement released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, the victims’ families suggested the attack was a hate crime: “We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice. 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 building their futures.”
The three students were identified 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. The students had graduated from Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker-run private nonprofit school in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, according to the school.
The shooter or shooters have not been identified or apprehended, and the police department is “at the earliest stages of investigating this crime.” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said in a statement. said it is pursuing all angles in its investigation, including the possibility that this was a hate crime: “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.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in a post on X. “It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, VT. Hate has no place here, or anywhere. I look forward to a full investigation. My thoughts are with them and their families.”
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said in a news release that they “have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab,” and the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it was offering a $10,000 reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators” of the shooting.
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