By Rich McKay and Steve Gorman
(RockedBuzz through Reuters) – The man accused of shooting and wounding three school students of Palestinian origin in Burlington, Vermont, over the weekend pleaded not responsible to attempted murder fees on Monday and a choose ordered him held with out parole. bail.
Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arraigned in Chittenden County Criminal Court in Burlington, showing through video feed from the county jail the place he has been held since his arrest Sunday, the day after the assault.
Police mentioned investigators are treating Saturday evening’s gun violence within the coronary heart of Vermont’s largest metropolis as a suspected hate crime.
Two of the three males killed mentioned they had been carrying black and white Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, and one mentioned they had been conversing in a mixture of English and Arabic when the gunman confronted them, in accordance with charging paperwork filed in courtroom.
The three buddies – recognized in courtroom paperwork as Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Aliahmad and Kinnan Abdalhamid, all of their 20s – remained underneath medical care Monday with gunshot wounds to the backbone, chest and buttocks respectively, officers mentioned. authority.
The victims informed police they had been shot whereas strolling close to the University of Vermont, a few block from Awartani’s grandmother’s residence, after a day at a bowling alley, in accordance with a police affidavit. police filed in help of the fees.
All three males are undergraduate students from faculties in different cities, however had been staying with Awartani and his relations in Burlington for the Thanksgiving vacation.
According to police, Eaton approached the three males proper outdoors his condo, pulled out his gun and opened fireplace with out saying a phrase from a couple of toes away, then disappeared from the scene. According to investigators, he fired a complete of 4 pictures.
‘I WAS WAITING FOR YOU’
The shooting sparked an intense manhunt by native, state and federal legislation enforcement companies, together with the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Drug Enforcement. explosives).
Eaton was taken into custody the subsequent day after an ATF agent knocked on his door whereas canvassing the neighborhood and was greeted by the suspect, who held out his palms palms up and informed the officer: “I used to be ready for you,” in accordance with the police assertion.
A search of the condo later turned up a handgun, ammunition matching that discovered on the crime scene, a .22-caliber rifle and two shotguns, police mentioned.
He was charged with three counts of attempted second-degree murder, a criminal offense punishable by a jail sentence of 20 years to life if convicted.
“While we do not yet have evidence to support an increase in hate crime, I want to make it clear that there is no question that this is a hateful act,” mentioned Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah Fair George , throughout a briefing Monday. .
The shooting got here amid a wave of anti-Islamic, anti-Arab and anti-Semitic incidents and threats reported within the United States since a bloody battle erupted on October 7 between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“In this tense moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate crime,” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad mentioned in a press release Sunday.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit throughout his three-minute arraignment, Eaton responded “sure, sir” when the choose requested him if he understood the fees in opposition to him.
Police mentioned the suspect had legally acquired the gun used within the shooting a number of months in the past.
The U.S. Department of Justice is aiding native authorities within the investigation, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland mentioned Monday.
“No person and no community in this country should live in fear of lethal violence,” Garland mentioned earlier than a separate assembly on the division’s Southern District of New York workplace.
The White House mentioned President Joe Biden was horrified by the shooting. “There is absolutely, absolutely no place for violence or hatred in America,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters at a information convention.
According to the victims’ households, Awartani is a scholar at Brown University in Rhode Island, Abdalhamid is enrolled at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Aliahmad attends Trinity College in Connecticut.
Police mentioned all three are of Palestinian origin: two of them are US residents and the third legally resides within the United States.
They graduated from Ramallah Friends School, a personal Quaker secondary faculty within the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the households mentioned.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Luc Cohen, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu and Katharine Jackson; Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank McGurty, Bill Berkrot and Matthew Lewis)