Palestinian American shot in Vermont paralysed from the chest down

Hisham Awartani was one of three students shot in an unprovoked attack while walking to a family dinner

Hisham Awartani (right), Kinnan Abdalhamid (centre) and Tahseen Ahmad (left) were shot in an unprovoked attack in Burlington, Vermont. Photo: Awartani family / Reuters
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A Palestinian American university student who was shot in Burlington, Vermont, last month has been left paralysed from the chest down, his family said.

Hisham Awartani was walking with two of his friends – Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ahmad – to a family dinner on November 25 when a man approached and shot them.

All three men survived the shooting, but one of the bullets that struck Mr Awartani “is lodged in his spine and has left him paralysed from the chest down”, his family said in a fund-raising page to support his recovery.

“He has demonstrated remarkable courage, resilience and fortitude – even a sense of humour – even as the reality of his paralysis sets in,” the family said.

Mr Awartani is a Palestinian-Irish-American who grew up in the West Bank and graduate of the Ramallah Friends School. His family said he is a teaching assistant at Brown University, where he is pursuing a dual degree in maths and archaeology.

The students were speaking in Arabic – and two were wearing keffiyehs – when they were approached by Jason Eaton, Burlington police said.

Police said that Mr Eaton had stepped off his porch, produced a firearm and then began shooting at the men.

Man pleads not guilty in shooting of three Palestinian students

Man pleads not guilty in shooting of three Palestinian students

Mr Eaton has pleaded not guilty to three charges of second degree murder. He is currently being held without bail.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the FBI would investigate whether the shooting constitutes a hate crime.

The attack comes amid a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war.

Updated: December 04, 2023, 1:24 PM