BURLINGTON –– Tragedy struck Burlington on Saturday night as three young Palestinian American men were targeted in a shooting incident.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. on North Prospect Street, an unidentified white male assailant, without uttering a word, opened fire with a handgun.
Four shots rang out, leaving two men with torso injuries and one sustaining serious wounds to the lower extremities.
As the victims, three 20-year-olds visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday, recover, two in stable condition, authorities are on the hunt for the shooter who managed to escape on foot.
While motives have not been officially named, Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad and Mayor Miro Weinberger expressed deep concern that the violence, occurring amid the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, could be a potential hate crime, particularly as two victims were donning keffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian heritage.
Nationwide, swift denunciations poured in, with civil rights groups labeling the attack a hate crime and demanding a full investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations placed a $10,000 bounty for leads resulting in an arrest and conviction of the assailant.
As the community grapples with this harrowing event, authorities urge the public to refrain from jumping to conclusions, assuring that every possible angle is under thorough investigation.