Now, that uncle says his family feels “betrayed” after Kinnan Abdalhamid was nearly killed as he walked on a street in Burlington, Vermont, with two of his friends on Saturday night.
“Kinnan grew up in the West Bank and we always thought that that could be more of a risk in terms of his safety and sending him here would be, you know, the right decision,” said Radi Tamimi. “We feel somehow betrayed in that decision here and, you know, we’re just trying to come to terms with everything.”
The men were wearing Keffiyeh headdresses and speaking Arabic after leaving an 8-year-old’s birthday party, family said.
Tamimi said he flew to Vermont from California to share his outrage over the ordeal, which had not been labeled a hate crime as of Monday despite pleas from Muslim advocacy groups to label it as such. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott called the attack a “heinous act of violence” in a tweet.
Cops say the suspected shooter, 48-year-old Jason J. Eaton, opened fire at Abdalhamid and his friends with a handgun. Cops said the victims told detectives that Eaton never spoke, but that he fled immediately.
He was arrested Sunday and had his first court appearance Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to a trio of attempted second-degree murder charges and was denied bail.
The victims were identified in an affidavit as Hisham Awartani, a Brown University student who was shot in the spine; Tahseen Aliahmad, a Trinity College student who was shot in the upper chest; and Abdalhamid, a Haverford College student who was shot in the buttocks.
Rich Price, Awartani’s uncle, said Monday that the attack displayed a level of “hatred that exists in some corners of this country” and “a sickness of gun violence that exists in this country.”