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One Burlington shooting victim released from hospital, two remain hospitalized

A photo of three young people wearing keffiyehs and with their arms around one another.
Institute for Middle East Understanding
From left, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Hisham Awartani. The three were visiting Burlington for their Thanksgiving break when police say a 48-year-old white man shot them. Abdalhamid was released from the hospital on Tuesday, while Ali Ahmad and Awartnai remain hospitalized.

One of the three young men shot in Burlington this week has been released from the hospital, while the other two remain hospitalized due to injuries sustained in the attack on Saturday. Police say the three 20-year-old college students, two Palestinian American and one Palestinian, were shot by a 48-year-old white man.

Kinnan Abdalhamid was released from the University of Vermont Medical Center on Tuesday, according to a statement from his parents that was shared by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

“We are extremely relieved that Kinnan has been released from the hospital. Right now, he is still in pain and recovering. Our priority is his well-being,” the statement said.

The other two young men, Hisham Awartani and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, are still hospitalized. Awartani had surgery on Wednesday to reconstruct his thumb and clavicle that were injured by the bullets, said Rich Price, Awartani’s uncle.

“The surgery was successful,” Price said during a phone interview on Thursday. “They continue to be remarkably strong and resilient. It's also been quite a traumatizing experience.”

Awartani, who was also hit in the spine, might not be able to walk again, his mother told NPR on Monday.

More from Vermont Public: Jason J. Eaton pleads not guilty to shooting three students of Palestinian descent visiting Burlington, Vermont

Price had been hosting Abdalhamid, Awartani and Ali Ahmad in Burlington over their Thanksgiving break. The three 20-year-olds grew up together in the West Bank and now attend different colleges in the U.S.

On Saturday night, after returning from a bowling birthday party for Price’s twins, the three young men took a walk around the neighborhood. Two of them were wearing traditional Palestinian scarves, and they were all speaking a mix of English and Arabic. During the walk, a man stepped from a porch, and without saying a word, shot all three of them, court records say.

More from Vermont Public: Burlington community gathers to process recent shootings of Palestinian and Palestinian American students

Police arrested Jason Eaton, 48, on Sunday for allegedly shooting them. Eaton pleaded not guilty to three charges of attempted second degree murder on Monday. He’s been held without bail at Northwest State Correctional Facility, according to the Department of Corrections’ jail tracker.

A photo of people standing in a crowd outside, with one person holding a sign reading "end hate."
Kevin Trevellyan
Vermont Public
Several hundred people gathered outside Burlington City Hall Sunday night at a rally in response to Saturday's shooting of three college students of Palestinian descent.

Abdalhamid, in an interview Wednesday with the New York Times, said the attack shook his sense that the U.S. was safer than the West Bank, where he grew up.

“It’s just kind of disheartening that now I feel like this is kind of shattering that image,” Abdalhamid told the New York Times.

More from Vermont Public: Some want the Burlington shooting to be investigated as a hate crime. Here’s how the law works

The victims’ families and civil rights organizations are calling on law enforcement officials to file hate crime charges against Eaton. Chittenden County states’ attorney Sarah George said on Monday there wasn’t enough evidence yet to bring that charge.

Burlington police say the investigation into the shooting is on-going. On Thursday, Chief Jon Muard told ABC-22/Fox-44 that federal law enforcement officials were helping Burlington police “comb through” Eaton’s electronic devices, including cell phones, an iPad and back-up hard drives.

“This is a slower part,” Muard told the TV station. “I know this isn’t necessarily what some folks want to hear, people want answers now, but I don’t expect anything imminently.”

The next court hearing in Eaton’s case is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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