We’re learning that 20-year-old Hisham Awartani, one of the three Palestinian students shot in Vermont on Thanksgiving weekend in an apparent hate crime, was born in San Francisco. But we’re also learning he’s now paralyzed from the chest down.
You may be familiar with the story of the Thanksgiving weekend shooting of Palestinian students in Vermont, where on November 25, three Palestinian students wearing keffiyehs and speaking in Arabic were shot. Authorities are investigating the matter as a hate crime, possibly related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. And it turns out that one of the victims, 20-year-old Hisham Awartani, was born in San Francisco, as the Chronicle reports.
Hisham Awartani was visiting family in Burlington, Vermont last month, when he and two friends were shot. All three victims survived. https://t.co/YwQAOBXULz— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) December 4, 2023
According to the Associated Press, Awartani was born in SF in 2003, though moved to the Palestinian territory of the West Bank at a very young age. NPR reports he attended and graduated from a Quaker-run K-12 school there, and NBC News adds Awartani speaks seven languages. He is currently studying math and archaeology at Brown University while serving as a teaching assistant.
That’s obviously all on hold now, as a Saturday update to a GoFundMe for Hisham Awartani’s recovery breaks the news that he is largely paralyzed. “We are thankful that all three (students) will survive this attack, and Hisham's friends are expected to make a full recovery,” the GoFundMe says. “For Hisham, however, one of the bullets that struck him is lodged in his spine and has left him paralyzed from the chest down.”
Hisham Awartani, one of the Palestinian American students shot in Burlington, Vermont, last weekend, is paralyzed from the chest down. Please help his family reach their fundraising goal. Every single donation makes a difference. https://t.co/SN9dbuKe7N— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) December 3, 2023
Burlington police detained a suspect in the shooting, 48-year-old Jason Eaton, the day after the shooting. Eaton is charged with three counts of attempted murder, and authorities are investigating the matter as a possible hate crime. The Chronicle quotes a press release from Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad saying, “In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime.”
The other two shooting victims, Tahseen Ali Ahmad and Kinnan Abdalhamid, were last reported in stable condition, and are expected to make full recoveries.
Image via GoFundMe