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Trinity College student among 3 men of Palestinian descent shot in Vermont

A rock painted with the word "peace" sits in the covered walkway outside the Trinity College Chapel while an informal vigil was held inside for Trinity student Tahseen Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid of Haverford College and Hisham Awartani of Brown University.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
A rock painted with the word "peace" sits in the covered walkway outside the Trinity College Chapel while an informal vigil was held inside for Trinity student Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid of Haverford College and Hisham Awartani of Brown University.

A Trinity College student is in stable condition after being shot along with two other men of Palestinian descent in Vermont Saturday night.

Tahseen Ali Ahmad and two other students — all of whom are studying in the U.S. — were shot in Burlington. The man accused of shooting them was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to three charges of attempted second degree murder.

Ali Ahmad was hospitalized in stable condition, Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney said in a note to the campus community.

She said a member of the Trinity Student Life staff went to Vermont to provide support.

"We remain shocked and saddened by the news this weekend of the shooting in Burlington, Vermont, of three students of Palestinian descent, including our own Tahseen Aliahmad ’26,” Berger-Sweeney said.

The college said its priority is "Tahseen’s safety and full recovery and his ability to see his family," who live in the West Bank.

As Ali Ahmad was recovering in Vermont, fellow students in Connecticut spoke of his kind demeanor. Mel Keith, a Trinity College student, said on Monday that Ali Ahmad readily offered to help on one occasion.

"He's really nice. I was setting up for a formal with one of my friends. We were really struggling, moving like this big, heavy piece of wood," Keith said. "And he asked us, Hey, do you guys need some help?"

Various media outlets have been spelling the student's last name as Ali Ahmad; Trinity College is spelling it as Aliahmad.

As of midday Sunday, the Burlington Police Department said two of the men were in stable condition, while the third had sustained more serious injuries.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, Jason Eaton, of Burlington, was arraigned in Chittenden County Superior Court. He’ll be held in prison without bail, and a hearing will be scheduled in coming days to decide whether he should continue to be held without bail.

Trinity College student Tahseen Ahmed (from left) was in Vermont with Kinnan Abdalhamid of Haverford College and Hisham Awartani of Brown University.
Povided
/
CAIR
Trinity College student Tahseen Ahmed (from left) was in Vermont with Kinnan Abdalhamid of Haverford College and Hisham Awartani of Brown University.

The three college students, all age 20, were walking during a visit to the home of one of the victims’ relatives when they were confronted by a white man with a handgun, police said.

Officers found the wounded men and they were sent to area hospitals.

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad noted in a statementthat all three men are of Palestinian descent.

"Two are U.S. citizens and one is a legal resident. Two were wearing keffiyehs at the time of the assault," Murad wrote, in reference to the traditional Palestinian scarf. "At this time, there is no additional information to suggest the suspect’s motive, such as statements or remarks by the suspect."

The victims' families and civil rights organizations are calling on Vermont law enforcement to investigate the shooting as a hate crime.

Police are investigating. Murad, who appeared in a press conference on Monday, said police have discovered computer evidence but did not elaborate further.

But Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George, who was also at the press conference, labeled it as a biased act.

"We do not yet have evidence to support a hate crime enhancement. I do want to be clear that there is no question this was a hateful act," George said.

The FBI in Albany, New York, posted a statement late Sunday on X saying the bureau is actively investigating the shooting with the Burlington Police Department, the ATF and other federal, state and local agencies.

The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting and would continue to receive law enforcement updates.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction of the person or people responsible for the shootings.

Learn more about the shooting here.

The Associated Press and Vermont Public contributed to this report.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.
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