A 48-year-old man was taken into custody on Sunday, 26 November, in relation to the shooting of three Palestinian college students on Saturday night in Burlington, Vermont, the Burlington Police said.
So far, one of the victims was released from the hospital, while the two other students remain hospitalized, one with a spinal injury that requires long-term care, CNN reported Monday night.
The suspect, identified as Jason J. Eaton, was taken into custody on Sunday at noon close to the shooting scene. Officials said that after searching his house, police took him into custody on Sunday night.
Eaton has pleaded not guilty to three charges of second-degree attempted murder.
Police stated that they had “probable cause to believe that Mr. Eaton perpetrated the shooting” based on the evidence gathered during the search warrant and further information uncovered during the investigation.
The suspect responded to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents knocking on his apartment door by holding out his empty palms at his waist and saying, “I’ve been waiting for you,” according to authorities.
Authorities have yet to determine the motive of the shooting, and on Monday, prosecutors stated that there is insufficient evidence to warrant indictment on the basis of a hate crime.
However, police also stated that it’s possible the friends—two of whom are citizens of the United States—were singled out because they’re Arab.
The shooting was dubbed “one of the most shocking and disturbing events” in the history of the city by Mayor Miro Weinberger on Monday.
President Joe Biden expressed gratitude to state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies for their prompt action in apprehending the individual believed to have shot three college students in Vermont.
Biden refrained from discussing the possible motive of the attack, stating that the three young men were “simply spending Thanksgiving gathered with family and loved ones.”
“While we are waiting for more facts, we know this: There is absolutely no place for violence or hate in America. Period,” the US President said in a statement.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
At least 14,500 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 5,500 children — and over 32,000 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 225 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 2,700 injured. The death toll is no longer being regularly updated due to the collapse of the enclave’s health system.
Israel and Hamas reached an agreement on 22 November, announcing a four-day cessation of hostilities to facilitate the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza, 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and the entry of humanitarian aid. The truce began on 24 November.
During an event in support of Palestine at Cairo International Stadium, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed that the forced relocation of Palestinians is a “red line” for Egypt, and will not be accepted.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.