REPORT: Police Arrest Suspect In Shooting Of Three Palestinian College Students

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UPDATE: Burlington police reportedly arrested Jason Eaton, a 48-year old Burlington local, on Sunday on suspicion of shooting the three victims, according to Vermont Public. The incident allegedly occurred outside of Eaton’s apartment and authorities found him in possession of bullets matching those used in the shooting, according to the same report.

Three college students of Palestinian descent were shot Saturday evening in Burlington, Vermont, in what police suspect is a potential hate crime, according to multiple reports.

The three young men, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ahmed, were walking around the University of Vermont campus when a white man allegedly opened fire at them, according to The New York Times. Two of the students are in stable condition and are expected to recover, according to the outlet. Awartani was struck in his spinal cord and has lost feeling in his lower body, according to a statement his uncle gave to The New York Times. (RELATED: ‘Are They Extremists?’: Doocy Asks KJP If Pro-Palestine Protesters Are Held To Same Standard As ‘MAGA’ Republicans)

Two of the victims were wearing a Palestinian headdress, the kaffiyeh, at the time of the shooting, according to the NYT report.

When confronted by police in his apartment, Jason Eaton, the suspect named by police late Sunday, allegedly said something to the effect of, “I’ve been waiting for you,” according to a police affidavit cited by Vermont Public.

The three students were reportedly walking to Awartani’s grandmother’s home for dinner.

“In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,” Burlington Chief of Police Jon Murad said.

The police report that they are still attempting to identify the shooter and they have “no additional information to suggest the suspect’s motive.”

The police department is working with federal authorities under the possibility that the shooter was motivated by anti-Palestinian hate, Murad said, according to The New York Times. However, he urged the public to not jump to conclusions about the shooter’s motivations.

Burlington police told the NYT that two of the victims are American citizens while the other is a permanent resident.

Protests have rocked the nation in the month following Hamas’ attack on Israel. Some of these demonstrations have turned violent, resulting in injuries. Tensions have simmered on college campuses since Oct. 7 due to left-wing students holding raucous anti-Israel demonstrations. And some of these protests have roiled universities’ relationships with their wealthy donors and have sparked accusations of antisemitism.