BURLINGTON, Vt. —The parents of two of the victims in last weekend’s triple shooting have arrived in Burlington, ending a 36-hour journey that started in Jordan.
Many tears were shed after the parents of Hisham Awartani and Kinnan Abdelhamid’s mother arrived at the Burlington International Airport this afternoon. Both families told NBC5 that they just couldn’t wait any longer to hold their children following the violent attack.
“I’m just so excited to see my son but also so very anxious to see him in his current condition,” said Elizabeth Price, Awartani’s mother.
The families arrived in Burlington from their homes in the Middle East five days after learning that their sons had been shot just down the street from Awartani’s grandmother’s home, where they had been staying during Thanksgiving break.
The families said they believe their children were targeted for being Palestinian, as the boys were speaking a mixture of English and Arabic and were wearing Palestinian keffiyehs when they were shot.
“What we’re hoping the next step is, is that hate crime charges are brought against the shooter, whether that be from the Department of Justice or from the state of Vermont,” said Abed Ayoub, the national executive director of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee and the victims’ attorney.
Awartani’s father said there is a bigger message to come from the trauma his son has experienced.
“I hope that one day the world will start seeing our kids in Palestine equivalent to others,” said Ali Awartani. “Because the way we see it is a human soul is a human soul no matter of the color, or religion or race.”
Ayoub said he’s spent the last few days helping to organize the details of the families’ trip to Vermont and is grateful they can finally be at their children’s sides.
“They as parents have to deal with the immediate shock and the immediate worry about the condition of their children, particularly those that were overseas, that were in Ramallah, that were in Palestine, and then trying to coordinate everything, come over here,” said Ayoub. “And it was just a very chaotic few days for them.”
We know that one of the men has been released from the hospital, with the other two still recovering.
Doctors told Awartani’s family that he may never walk again. But his parents said they are staying optimistic.
The parents of Tahseen Ali Ahmad are still in the process of obtaining visas to travel to see their son.
Source : NBC5