Three 20-year-old students of Palestinian descent were shot in Burlington, Vermont on Saturday.
No suspect has been identified.
Police chief: "No one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime."
Three students of Palestinian descent were injured Saturday evening in a shooting in Burlington, Vermont, in what advocacy organizations have said is a possible hate crime.
Burlington police have not yet identified or arrested a suspect, and told local media outlets they are still investigating the incident.
"In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime. I have already been in touch with federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for that if it's proven. But now that the victims are safe and receiving medical care. Our next priority is identifying, locating, and apprehending the suspect," Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad told local CBS affiliate WCAX.
The Burlington Police Department did not immediately respond to a message from Business Insider.
The Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee released a statement on Sunday identifying the students as Hisham Awartani of Brown University, Tahseen Ahmed of Trinity University, and Kinnan Abdalhamid of Harvard University, all 20 years old.
The ADC said the students had gathered together during their Thanksgiving break and had been speaking Arabic and wearing keffiyehs — traditional Palestinian scarves.
"A man shouted and harassed the victims, then proceeded to shoot them," the ADC statement said. Two of the victims remain in the ICU, and one of them "sustained very critical and serious injuries," the ADC said. No further details on the students' conditions were available.
"After reviewing the initial information provided we have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab," the statement said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also released a statement on Sunday offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter or shooters, and called on state and federal authorities to investigate "a possible bias motive for the shooting."
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also spoke out about the shooting on X, saying he looked forward to a full investigation.
"It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, VT. Hate has no place here, or anywhere," he wrote.
The shooting comes amid growing concerns of antisemitism and anti-Arab animus in the United States amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
Sunday marked the third day of a planned four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which have been fighting since October 7 when Hamas fighters killed an estimated 1,200 people and took some 240 hostages in a surprise attack on southern Israel. More than 14,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them women and children, have been killed during Israel's retaliatory invasion.
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