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On Saturday, three 20-year-old Palestinian college students were shot in Burlington, Vermont, after being confronted by a man with a handgun while walking down Prospect Street. Two of them are US citizens, whereas the other is a legal resident.
CNN reported that a press release from the Burlington Police Department said that two of the men are in stable condition while the other sustained “much more serious injuries.”
Police said the men were walking down the street when they came upon another man on foot who “Without speaking, he discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled on foot.” The statement noted that two of the men were wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf called a keffiyeh.
Discussing the possible motive for the shooting, Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said, per WCAX 3, “In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime.” He added, “I have already been in touch with federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for that if it’s proven.”
Governor Phil Scott said in a statement, “The shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Burlington last night is a tragedy, and I hope each of them make a full recovery from their injuries.” He continued, “My thoughts are with them and their families. I have offered the State’s full support to the Mayor and Burlington Police Chief as this senseless crime is investigated and in support of the Palestinian and broader Burlington community. Our federal partners also stand ready to assist.”
In a statement posted on X, the families identified the victims as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad. They said, “We call on law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation, including treating this as a hate crime. We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice.” They added, “We need to ensure that our children are protected, and this heinous crime is not repeated.”
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