A terrifying incident occurred in Burlington, Vermont, when three young Palestinian-American students were shot while taking a walk on Saturday evening. The details of the case have led many to speculate that the shooting was a hate crime. High-profile leaders have called on the authorities to investigate the alleged assailant’s motives.
At 6:30 pm, the suspect gunman was apprehended after he approached three 20-year-old men on Burlington Street and fired four shots. The two victims were struck in the torso while the third victim was hit below the waist.
According to a news release issued by the Burlington Police Department on Sunday, all of the 20-year-old men are receiving medical treatment. Two are in stable condition, and one is suffering from more serious injuries.
According to the press release, the students were walking down Prospect Street in Burlington while visiting relatives for Thanksgiving. “They were confronted with a white male with a gun,” the release states.
Police said that “without speaking, he discharged four shots from the pistol” and believed that he fled on foot.
The police said that one victim is a resident and two are US citizens.
According to the police, two of the three students wore keffiyehs – traditional Palestinian scarves. Two of the three students were shot in their torsos and one in “lower extremities,” according to the police department.
Families of victims and members of the local community are distraught, believing that the shootings were motivated by racism. Police arrested Jason J. Eaton after searching his home. They found probable grounds to believe that he was responsible for the attack.
Police said that a 48-year-old man was arrested Monday on charges related to the shooting of three Palestinian students walking near the University of Vermont.
Court documents state that Jason Eaton told an agent at the door of his Burlington home on Sunday: “I’ve waited for you.”
Eaton refused identification to the agent but revealed that a shotgun was in the apartment.
An official stated at a Monday press conference that the authorities had visited Eaton’s home as part of an overall police canvass of the area, and not because Eaton was already suspected.
Police searched Eaton’s Burlington apartment and found a Ruger pistol in.380 caliber, along with ammunition that matched shell casings from the scene of the shooting on Saturday night. The police said that he bought the gun earlier this year.
Eaton was ordered to be held in custody without bail by the judge at his Monday arraignment.
The motive of the shooting has not been officially established by authorities at this time.