On the evening of November 25, three young men of Palestinian descent were accosted by Jason Eaton in Burlington Vermont and shot. All three men survived their wounds. Their attorneys and the mother of one of the victims claim that the shootings should be investigated as a hate crime.
Eaton, a man who had suffered from depression and was known to harbor conspiratorial views, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder. But so far, no evidence has been brought to light that would indicate malice toward Arabs or Muslims. The Burlington Police Department says that, so far, it does not have any “statements or remarks by the suspect” that might suggest a reason for the shootings.
Eaton has yet to tell his side of the story and details of the incident from the three Palestinians haven’t been forthcoming. And there’s nothing in Eaton’s social media accounts that specifically points to anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, or anti-Muslim hate.
Rich Price, whose nephew Hisham Awartani was one of the victims, is certain it was a hate crime.
“We also understand that there’s a legal threshold to meet the criteria of a hate crime,” Price said. “But in our view, this is clearly motivated by hate. We believe they were targeted because of how they look, how they were dressed, and what language they were speaking.”
The men were wearing keffiyehs, traditional Palestinian neck scarves, and were speaking Arabic. They claim that Eaton “silently approached” according to USA Today, and opened fire.
Authorities are trying their best to create a hate crime where perhaps, none exists.
“Although we do not yet have evidence to support a hate crime enhancement, I do want to be clear that there is no question that this was a hateful act,” said Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George during a press conference on Monday.
That the left has already canonized these young men as victims of a hate crime is predictable. Beyond that, the narrative is now set in stone. It won’t matter whether they charge Eaton with a hate crime. He’s already been tried and convicted by the left and anything less than a hate crime will be seen as a “coverup.”
Eaton surrendered to an ATF agent who knocked on his apartment door looking for information about the shooting. He cooperated with the agent but refused to give his name to the police.
Eaton, unprompted, stepped outside the apartment into the hallway, where Brown asked if there were guns in the apartment. Eaton said there was a shotgun. When Brown asked if there were other guns, Eaton repeated that he wanted a lawyer. At that point, Brown “detained” Eaton, according to the affidavit, and asked his name. Eaton would not identify himself, and asked for a lawyer again. A search of Eaton for weapons turned up two keys in his pocket, which were removed.
After Burlington Police officers arrived to take Eaton to the police department, Brown and another ATF agent and an FBI agent searched Eaton’s apartment and found no one else there. They did find a 38-caliber Ruger pistol and ammunition, described as a Hornaday brand with a “bright red tip on each projectile.” The pistol was in the top drawer of Eaton’s dresser in his bedroom.
Will the whole story even matter? Eventually, it will come out and we’ll learn why Eaton pulled the trigger. Until then, we should all relax and wait for the investigation to run its course.