Three Palestinian students attending colleges in the United States were shot and wounded on Saturday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to the Burlington Police Department. The police report stated that two of the victims, both 20-year-old men, are in stable condition, while the third is facing more serious injuries. The students were on their way to a Thanksgiving dinner at a relative's house when they were shot. Two of them were wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves at the time.
The shooter fired at least four rounds from a pistol, striking all three students. Law enforcement agencies, including the Burlington Police Department and the University of Vermont police department, responded to the scene immediately. Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad expressed concern that the incident may be a hate-motivated crime. He stated that he had already reached out to federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for potential hate crime charges if the motive is proven.
The FBI Albany office, responsible for Vermont, has launched an investigation to determine if the shooting constitutes a federal violation. Hate crimes are considered federal offenses. Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that could help identify and convict the shooter.
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent lawmaker from Vermont, also commented on the incident. In a social media post, he expressed shock and deep sadness over the shooting. He emphasized that hate has no place in Burlington or anywhere else and called for a thorough investigation. Sanders extended his thoughts to the victims and their families.