Burlington, Vermont, police are searching for a white man who is suspected of shooting three 20-year-old men of Palestinian descent on Saturday, police said.
The three men were in Burlington visiting the home of one of the victim’s relatives for Thanksgiving, police said. They were on Prospect Street when an armed White man confronted them and, without speaking, allegedly discharged at least four rounds around 6:30 p.m.
Two of the victims were shot in the torso while the third man was shot in his lower extremities, police said. Two of the victims were in what police described as stable condition. The third victim “sustained much more serious injuries.”
Two of the victims were wearing keffiyehs, scarfs that have come to symbolize Palestinian solidarity, officials said. Police said two of the victims are U.S. citizens and one is a legal resident.
The suspect is believed to have fled on foot. Police have not yet identified him, and investigators said that so far, there’s no information to suggest the suspect’s motive.
Investigators don’t know as much as they’d like, Burlington police chief Jon Murad said. He urged the public to avoid jumping to conclusions “based on statements from uninvolved parties who know even less.”
“In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,” Murad said. “And I have already been in touch with federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for that if it’s proven.