Targeted Hate Crime Leaves Three Palestinian Students in Burlington on Long Road to Recovery

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Three Palestinian college students faced a life-altering event last Saturday when they were shot on North Prospect Street, leaving them on a challenging road to recovery. The shooting of Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Aliahmad prompted a news conference inside Burlington’s City Hall, attended by Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington police Chief Jon Murad, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, and others. Jason Eaton, 48, was arrested and pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder in the second degree for the shooting.

The incident, being investigated as a possible hate crime, has sparked concern and raised questions about the motives behind the attack. Both Rich Price and Radi Tamimi, uncles of two of the victims, believe the attack was targeted, possibly driven by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. They expressed fear and worry about the impact of the incident on their nephews, emphasizing the emotional toll it may take.

The resilience and good humor displayed by the young men in the face of adversity have left an impression on those around them, including Rich Price. He expressed gratitude to the community for their support, particularly the neighbors who provided assistance to the victims while waiting for first responders to arrive. The sense of solidarity within the Palestinian community has also been a source of comfort and strength for the families of the victims.

While the three young men are expected to recover physically, the emotional and mental impact of the incident remains a concern. The support system within the community and the medical treatment being provided at UVM Medical Center are crucial elements in the ongoing recovery process for the victims. Meanwhile, the accused shooter, Eaton, is expected to appear in court for a bail hearing later in the week.

Overall, the shooting has prompted reflection on the broader issues of hate crimes and targeted violence, as well as the importance of community support in times of adversity. It has also highlighted the resilience and determination of the victims and their families as they navigate the long road to recovery.