Hisham Awartani, One of Vermont Shooting Victims is Paralyzed from Chest Down

Authorities investigating possibility of 'Hate Crime'

In a deeply distressing turn of events during the Thanksgiving weekend, Hisham Awartani, a 20-year-old mathematics major at Brown University, is paralyzed from the chest down following a shooting incident in Vermont.

The alleged assailant, 48-year-old Jason Eaton, targeted Ivy League student Awartani and his companions – Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ali Ahmad – while they were on a casual walk in Burlington. This has prompted investigators to delve into the possibility of the attack being motivated by hate.

Awartani, who sustained severe injuries, including a bullet lodged in his spine, is expected to be released from the hospital next week, and will move for rehabilitation. To alleviate the financial burden on the family arising from current medical expenses and the necessitated adaptive needs, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched. The fund seeks to cover not only Awartani's rehabilitation costs but also the travel expenses incurred by his family during this challenging period.

vermont student paralyzed

While Abdalhamid and Ahmad are expected to recover physically, the emotional toll of the incident looms large. Abdalhamid's parents expressed relief at their son's physical progress but underscored the enduring impact of this tragedy on their lives. Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad has emphasized an ongoing investigation into potential motives, specifically examining whether the incident can be classified as a hate crime.

Awartani, in sharing his harrowing experience with his mother, recounted the sudden and terrifying nature of the attack. The fear that the assailant might persist in causing harm added to the trauma. The trio, who engaged in a blend of English and Arabic during their leisurely walk, now confront not only the physical challenges of recovery but also the emotional scars left by the incident. Nevertheless, the community has rallied in unwavering support, with an outpouring of global messages conveying encouragement and solidarity.

As the investigation unfolds, the looming question of whether this incident constitutes a hate crime remains at the forefront, highlighting the necessity for a thorough scrutiny of the factors surrounding this lamentable incident is crucial.