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Suspect Vermont Shooting Palestinians Pleads Not Guilty

48-year-old Jason Eaton pleaded not guilty to shooting three college students of Palestinian descent near the University of Vermont.

A man in Vermont has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder after allegedly shooting three college students of Palestinian descent.

48-year-old Jason Eaton appeared in court via video from the county jail for his arraignment hearing. The shooting took place near the University of Vermont in Burlington.

The victims, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid, and Tahseen Ahmed, were reportedly speaking Arabic at the time of the incident. Two of them were wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional black-and-white checkered scarf commonly worn in the Middle East.

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Department of Justice are all involved in the investigation to determine if the shootings amount to hate crimes.

President Joe Biden has expressed horror at the incident, stating that there is no place for violence or hate in America. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger thanked Biden for the swift federal support for the investigation.

The victims, all 20 years old, have been identified as students at Brown University in Rhode Island, Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Trinity College in Connecticut. They were transported to the intensive care unit of a local hospital, where two of them were in stable condition, while the third faces more serious injuries.

The suspect has been ordered to be held without bail, pending a hearing expected to take place within the next few days. The investigation is ongoing.

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