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Suspect arrested in shooting of 3 U.S. college students of Palestinian descent

Nov 27, 2023

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Police in Burlington, Vermont, have arrested a suspect in the shooting of three college students of Palestinian descent who were wounded near the University of Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 25. The suspect, identified as Jason J. Eaton, 48, is set to be arraigned today in connection with the shooting.

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

Police say the three students, all men in their twenties who attend other U.S. colleges, were shot on their way to one of the victim’s relatives for dinner over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to police, the shooting scene, near the University of Vermont, was in front of the suspect Eaton’s apartment building.

Police say the gunman fired his weapon, a hand gun, at least four times without speaking. According to a family spokesperson, the victims were speaking to each other in a hybrid of English and Arabic, and at the time of the shooting two of them were wearing Palestinian kaffiyehs, traditional head dresses.

One of the students suffered serious injuries, and the others are in stable condition. While further details have not yet been made available, authorities said they are investigating whether the shooting 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,” said Jon Murad, Burlington Chief of Police.

Authorities have not identified any of the victims but said two of them are U.S. citizens, and the third is a legal resident. The family of the victims has identified them as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ahmed.

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POLICE IN BURLINGTON VERMONT HAVE ARRESTED A SUSPECT IN THE SHOOTING OF THREE STUDENTS OF PALESTINIAN DESCENT WHO WERE WOUNDED NEAR THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT ON SATURDAY.

THE SUSPECT — IDENTIFIED AS FORTY EIGHT YEAR OLD JASON J. EATON – IS SET TO BE ARRAIGNED TODAY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHOOTING.

POLICE SAY THE THREE STUDENTS – ALL MEN IN THEIR TWENTIES WHO ATTEND OTHER U.S. COLLEGES – WERE SHOT OUTSIDE THE HOME OF ONE OF THE VICTIM’S RELATIVES THEY WERE VISITING OVER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. THE SHOOTING SCENE WAS ALSO NEAR EATON’S APARTMENT BUILDING.

POLICE SAY THE GUNMAN FIRED HIS WEAPON AT LEAST FOUR TIMES – WITHOUT SPEAKING.

TWO OF THE STUDENTS WERE WEARING TRADITIONAL PALESTINIAN SCARVES AT THE TIME.

AUTHORITIES SAY TWO OF THE VICTIMS ARE U.S. CITIZENS — THE THIRD IS A LEGAL RESIDENT.

ONE OF THE STUDENTS SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES – THE OTHERS ARE IN STABLE CONDITION.

AUTHORITIES SAY THEY ARE INVESTIGATING WHETHER THE SHOOTING WAS A HATE CRIME.