Palestinian-American student shot in Vermont is paralyzed from chest down: family

Palestinian-American student shot in Vermont is paralyzed from chest down: family

One of three Palestinian-American college students shot in cold blood on a Burlington, Vt., street last month is paralyzed from the chest down, according to his family.

Hisham Awartani, a student at Brown University, was visiting his grandmother over Thanksgiving when a man opened fire on him and two childhood friends without provocation or warning. Awartani was shot in the chest, as was Tahseen Ahmed, a student at Trinity College in Hartford. Haverford College student Kinnan Abdalhamid was hit in the buttocks, suffering injuries described as minor.

“We are thankful that all three will survive this attack, and Hisham’s friends are expected to make a full recovery,” Awartani family said Saturday in an online funding appeal to raise money for medical expenses and rehabilitation. “For Hisham, however, one of the bullets that struck him is lodged in his spine and has left him paralyzed from the chest down.”

Last week Awartani’s mother, Elizabeth Price, said he most likely would never walk again.

“He has what they call an incomplete spinal injury, which means that he can feel, but he can’t move the areas that are currently paralyzed,” she told NBC News. “He is going into intensive rehab later this week, and we hope that that will help with his prognosis.”

Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Hisham Awartani, stand together for a photograph.

AP

Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Hisham Awartani stand together for a photograph on Nov. 23. (AP)

The three 20-year-olds were walking down the street on Nov. 25 speaking a mixture of Arabic and English and two of them were wearing the traditional Palestinian scarves known as keffiyehs when Jason Eaton, 48, attacked them. He was arrested and pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

Awartani opted to stay in the U.S. over the holidays at his parents’ urging, because his family thought he’d be safer here. The shooting, which came amid tensions around the world stemming from the Israel-Hamas war, is being investigated as a hate crime.

The funding appeal had raised nearly $700,000 toward its $900,000 goal as of Sunday evening.

With News Wire Services

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