Washington- US police arrested a suspect in the shooting of 3 students of Palestinian origin who were attending a gathering over the Thanksgiving holiday near the University of Vermont campus on Saturday evening.
The three students in the city of Burlington, Vermont, adjacent to the US-Canadian border, were shot on Saturday evening, at the age of 20. They are: Hisham Awartani from Brown University; Kanan Abdel Hamid from Harvard University; Tahseen Ahmed from Trinity University. They are all Palestinians, two are American citizens and the third holds permanent residency.
Burlington Police Chief John Murad said two of the victims were wearing… Palestinian scarf In black and white.
Law enforcement agents arrested Jason Eaton, 48, during a search and investigation in the area of the shooting in Burlington at 3:38 pm yesterday, Sunday, the Burlington Police Department said in a statement.
Authorities collected evidence during a search of Eaton’s apartment in a building near the shooting site, and he is scheduled to appear in court Monday. Murad said in a statement on Sunday evening that the attack, which resulted in the injury of 3 Palestinian students around 6:25 pm on Saturday evening, “may have been a hate crime.”
The condition of two students has stabilized, while the third suffers from “more serious injuries.” Police said the three 20-year-olds were walking during a visit to the home of a relative of one of the victims when they were confronted by a white man carrying a gun.
Murad said: “Without speaking, he fired at least 4 shots from the pistol, and it is believed that he escaped. The three victims were injured, two in their torsos and one in the lower limbs.”
The police chief, who expressed his sympathy with the victims and their families, said there was no additional information indicating a motive. He added, “At this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate crime. I have already been in contact with federal investigative and prosecutorial partners to prepare for this if proven.”
The FBI Regional Office in Albany, New York, also published a statement late yesterday, Sunday, on the X platform, saying that the office was investigating the shooting with the local Burlington Police Department and other federal, state and local agencies.
Vermont members of Congress condemned the shooting, and Senator Bernie Sanders said in a statement, “It is shocking and deeply disturbing that 3 young Palestinian men were shot here in Burlington. Hate has no place here or anywhere. I look forward to a full investigation.” With them and their families.”
Meanwhile, Senator Peter Welch, in a tweet on the X website, stated that Vermont “does not tolerate hate or Islamophobia” and that he expects law enforcement authorities to “quickly identify the shooter and his motives.”
I’m heartbroken by yesterday’s senseless shooting of three Palestinian-American students visiting Burlington.
We do not tolerate hate or Islamophobia in Vermont. I expect law enforcement to quickly identify the shooter and their motive, & will continue to monitor the situation.
— Senator Peter Welch (@SenPeterWelch) November 26, 2023
Representative Becca Balint also participated, through a tweet on the X website, and demanded that there be “a full investigation into any evidence of a hate crime.”
In a statement, Vermont Governor Phil Scott described the shooting as a “tragedy,” and added, “I offered the state’s full support to the mayor and police chief of Burlington as this senseless crime is investigated, and all support to the Palestinian community and to all residents of the city of Burlington.” Burlington”.
Calls for unity
The Mayor of Burlington, Miro Weinberger, issued a similar call to support the victims and unite in condemning the violence. He said in a statement, “I call on the residents of Burlington… to stand together, to support these victims, their families, and their community with love and kindness.”
“There is an indication that this shooting may have been motivated by hate is chilling. The city of Burlington has zero tolerance for hate crimes and will work relentlessly to bring the shooter to justice,” he said.
The White House also said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and will continue to receive law enforcement updates. US House of Representatives Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries called on Americans to “unequivocally denounce the astonishing rise of anti-Arab hatred and Islamophobia in America.”
Jeffries said on the “X” platform that “no one should ever be targeted because of their ethnic or religious affiliation in our country,” adding, “We will not let hate win.”
A number of activists from local organizations, including “University of Vermont Students for Justice in Palestine,” “Vermonters for Justice in Palestine,” and “Jewish Voice for Peace in Vermont and New Hampshire,” organized a solidarity march last Sunday evening in front of Burlington City Hall. .
It was noteworthy that the American Jewish Committee, an organization defending Jews around the world, said on the “X” platform that it was “horrified” by the attack and urged “law enforcement authorities to investigate this act as a possible hate crime.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had also offered, in a post on social media platforms, a reward of 10,000 US dollars to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of the crime of shooting Palestinian youths.
American universities, especially the prestigious ones, are witnessing an ongoing and massive movement opposing the continuation of the Israeli aggression. The incident came at a time when hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims have witnessed a significant increase since the seventh of last October, the start of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, and the associated massive demonstrations against the American position in support of the aggression.
The most prominent of these incidents was the killing of the child Wadih Al-Fayoumi, who was stabbed to death by the owner of a property where his family lived in a suspected hate crime. The Council on American-Islamic Relations says there has been a 162% increase in hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims.
The post first appeared on www.aljazeera.net