The families of the three Palestinian students who were shot on Saturday in Vermont have pleaded with local authorities to investigate the incident as a possible act of hate.
According to the Burlington Police Department, a man encountered Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ahmed, and Kinnan Abdalhamid near the University of Vermont Campus and shot all three of them.
Officers have stated that they were wearing keffiyehs, which are traditional scarves, and speaking Arabic when they were attacked. An investigation into a suspected motivation is currently underway. The culprit is currently being sought by the police.
Jon Mura, the chief of police in Burlington, stated that two of the victims are in a stable condition, while the third victim has received far more serious injuries.
According to members of the victims' families, all three victims were students at the Ramallah Friends School, which is a Quaker-run private non-profit school in Ramallah.
Haverford College has identified Mr. Abdalhamid as a current student at the institution. The other two suspects have been identified as a student at Brown University named Mr. Awartani and a student at Trinity College in Connecticut named Mr. Ahmed.
Rich Price, an uncle of one of the victims, stated that the three men, all of whom were in their 20s at the time of the incident, had been attending a birthday party for a child who was eight years old.
Rich Price said that the last thing that they could possibly envision being conceivable was that in their family's community, they would be walking down the street and anything like this would happen to them.
He mentioned that they heard the sirens and saw the flashing lights of police cruisers as they drove by their house less than five minutes after the students had left their home. It is at that point, that they realised there must be something wrong. He had no clue that it was his nephew and his friends.
According to a report by sources, the relatives of the victims had their statements issued earlier through the pro-Palestinian non-profit group Middle East Understanding.
They issued the statement saying that they strongly urge law enforcement to undertake an investigation into this issue, which may involve categorising it as a hate crime.
A reward in the amount of $10,000 is being offered by the Council on American-Islamic Relations for information that leads to an arrest.
Since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas on October 7, the United States has been dealing with an increase in Islamophobic and antisemitic occurrences, including violent assaults and internet harassment. The shooting occurred during this time.
Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont and erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate, condemned the most recent act of violence on social media.
Mr. Sanders stated on social media that the shooting deaths of three young Palestinians in Burlington, Vermont, are abhorrent and profoundly distressing and hatred is not tolerated in this context or in any other location.
The director of the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Husam Zomlot, shared a photo of the trio on social media with the caption, "Hate crimes against Palestinians must cease."