3 Palestinian students shot in Vermont
New details are emerging about the suspect accused of shooting three Palestinian students near the University of Vermont campus in an attack that is being probed as a possible hate crime.
Jason Eaton, 48, was arrested on Sunday afternoon in Burlington close to the scene of the attack.
He allegedly ambushed three 20-year-old college students – Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ahmad – as they walked to a family Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night. The friends were speaking to each other in English and Arabic, police said, and two of them were wearing keffiyehs at the time.
Mr Eaton was arraigned on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder.
Burlington Police said in a press conference that when officers knocked on his door on Sunday, he told them: “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Mr Eaton’s resume, seen by The Daily Beast, reveals that he has worked as a former Boy Scouts scoutmaster, a Harvard research assistant and a former ski instructor.
His mother told the outlet that she was “shocked” by his alleged involvement. While he previously struggled with depression, they had enjoyed Thanksgiving together just days earlier, she said.
Uncle of one of the men says he feels ‘somehow betrayed’ by decision to bring him to US
Radi Tamimi, the uncle of Kenan Abdulhamid said his family feels “somehow betrayed” by the decision to bring his nephew to the United States.
He said Mr Abdulhamid grew up in the West Bank, a territory east of Israel, home to roughly 3 million Palestinians.
“We always thought that that could be more of a risk in terms of his safety and sending him here would be the right decision,” he said during a news conference. “We feel somehow betrayed in that decision here.”
Mr Tamimi, who flew from California to Burlington ahead of the news conference stated that it’s “hard to imagine in this time, and with everything that’s happening that it was just a random act.”
It “doesn’t doesn’t feel that way,” he said. “But we’re absolutely willing to wait to find out let due process take its course.”
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 12:00
The FBI is investigating a potential hate crime motive
Federal law enforcement agencies are investigating whether the shooting of three Palestinian college students in Vermont was a hate crime.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland, in remarks from New York on Monday addressing the work of the US Department of Justice to combat hate-fuelled violence, confirmed the FBI and ATF have launched investigations in the wake of Saturday’s shooting.
“There is understandable fear in communities across the country,” Mr Garland said in remarks from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on Monday.
Read more from Alex Woodward here.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 09:20
Biden releases statement on shooting
President Joe Biden released a statement on the shooting Monday afternoon following a call he had with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Read the full statment below:
“Jill and I were horrified to learn that three college students of Palestinian descent, two of whom are American citizens, were shot Saturday in Burlington, Vermont. They were simply spending Thanksgiving gathered with family and loved ones,” the president said.
“We join Americans across the country in praying for their full recovery, and we send our deepest condolences to their families. While we are waiting for more facts, we know this: there is absolutely no place for violence or hate in America. Period. No person should worry about being shot at while going about their daily lives. And far too many Americans know a family member injured or killed as a result of gun violence.
“We cannot and we will not accept that.Earlier today, I spoke to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger to offer my support. We are grateful to the Burlington Police Department – as well as the FBI, ATF, and other law enforcement partners – for their swift work identifying and arresting a suspect. Our Administration will provide any additional federal resources needed to assist in the investigation.”
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 07:35
A gunman shot three Palestinian students in Vermont. Now they’re in the ICU as their families seek answers.
Last week, a gunman ambushed and injured three college students of Palestinian descent as they walked to a Thanksgiving dinner celebration in Burlington, Vermont.
John Murad, chief of the Burlington Police Department, called the attack an “unprovoked and terrible” crime at a 27 November press conference.
Now, the suspected gunman — 48-year-old Jason Eaton — is in custody and federal officials are investigating whether the shooting was a hate crime, as the three students receive treatment at a nearby hospital and their families seek answers.
Read more from Katie Hawkinson here.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 06:04
Jason Eaton could face life imprisonment if convicted
Sarah George, the Chittenden County State’s Attorney, said that Jason Eaton could face 20 years to life imprisonment if convicted on three counts of second-degree attempted murder, a felony crime.
Mr Eaton was handed the charges when he was booked on Sunday. He plead not guilty to all three counts on Monday during a court arraignment.
Ms George said that officials do not currently have enough information to charge Mr Eaton with a hate crime.
However, “I do want to be clear that there is no question this was a hateful act,” she said.
“In the meantime, as our community grapples with this reality, my office will continue to work closely with the Burlington Police Department and our federal partners to hold Mr Eaton accountable, and any others who commit such horrendous violence in our home,” she said.
Ms George stated that in order to charge Mr Eaton with a hate crime, prosecutors would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt an additional element of the crime. Such evidence might come from anything that might’ve been said by the defendant at the time of the attack or statements made online prior to the incident.
Still, Ms George said that even if prosecutors did charge Mr Eaton with a hate crime, the possible punishment of 20 years to life would not change.
The Chittenden County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing Mr Eaton, said it was not prepared to comment on the case.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 05:10
One of the students sustained a spinal injury in shooting, uncle says
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Rich Price, a Burlington resident and uncle of Hisham Awartani, said that the student sustained a spinal injury in the shooting and faces a long road to recovery.
All of the men are in the intensive care unit at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Tahseen Ahmad is in a lot of pain, Mr Price added, while Kinnan Abdalhamid’s injuries are difficult. Still, Mr Price said that Mr Abdalhamid is expected to make a full and speedy recovery.
“I want to say that these three young men are incredible,” Mr Price, who was hosting the students for Thanksgiving, said. “They have their lives in front of them. They are committed to building incredible lives. They each go to great schools.”
The men have visited the family for Thanksgiving in the last few years, Mr Price said, adding that he “never imagined that this sort of thing could happen”.
The incident occured after the men attended a birthday party for Mr Price’s 8-year-old twin boys. When they arrived back at the uncle’s home, they decided to go for a walk. That’s when police believe Mr Eaton encountered the men.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 04:07
Suspect pleads not guilty during arraignment
Jason J Eaton, the man who officials believe shot the students, has pleaded not guilty to all three counts of aggravated assault, officials announced on Monday.
Investigators said that information inside Mr Eaton’s home led them to believe he was involved in the shooting. The man’s residence is located in front of where the attack took place, police said. He was arrested on Sunday.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 03:03
Bernie Sanders releases statement on the shooting
Bernie Sanders, the independent US Senator from Vermont, released a statement regarding the shooting on X, also known as Twitter, on Sunday.
“It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, Vermont,” he said. “Hate has no place here, or anywhere.
“I look forward to a full investigation. My thoughts are with them and their families.”
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 02:03
Suspect told ATF officer ‘I’ve been waiting for you’
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Jon Murad, chief of police for the Burlington Police Department, said that the suspect, Jason Eaton, told an ATF officer something to the effect of “I’ve been waiting for you”, when they arrived to his apartment on Sunday during a canvas of the man’s residential building.
The ATF officer replied, “why is that?” Mr Murad said. To which he responded, “I would like a lawyer.”
Chief Murad said that before the man made the comment, he came out of his apartment with his palms up.
Officials then asked him if he had any firearms in his possession. He said he had one. At that point, Chief Murad said, the man was detained.
Authorities later found a .380 that Mr Eaton had recently purchased.
Officials believe the man came from Syracuse, New York and only had one traffic infranction ever since he moved to the area over the summer.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 01:04
Here’s what we know about the victims
Three men of Palestinian descent were shot in Burlington, Vermont over the weekend as they walked to a family Thanksgiving dinner.
They’ve been identified as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ahmad, all 20. Two of the students are US citizens and one is a legal resident.
The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Officials have arrested a suspect, 48-year-old Jason J Eaton, in connection with the shooting.
According to a press release from the Burlington Police Department, the men remain under medical care. Two of them are stable, while one sustained serious injuries. Officials did not provide additional information about the students’ conditions.
The men are not related but had been headed to the home of Mr Awartani’s grandmother during the holiday weekend. They had been walking along Prospect Street on Saturday around 6.30pm when they were attacked by the gunman, who was on foot, the release states.
The man did not speak to the victims before he fired four shots in their direction. Two of the students were shot in the torso and one was shot in the lower extremities. The shooter fled the scene following the attack.
Mr Awartani is a student at Brown University in Rhode Island. Mr Abdalhamid attends Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Mr Ahmed is at Trinity College.
Graeme Massie28 November 2023 00:01