palestinian shot vermont paralyzed
© Reuters(From left) Hisham Awartani was walking with his friends Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed when they were shot.
One of the three college students of Palestinian descent who were shot in Vermont in November is paralysed from the chest down after a bullet lodged in his spine, the student's family said.

Hisham Awartani, a 20-year-old student at Brown University who grew up in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was walking with two friends near the University of Vermont campus in Burlington on Nov 25, when the police say 48-year-old Jason Eaton shot them with a handgun in a suspected hate crime. Eaton has pleaded not guilty.

Tahseen Aliahmad, who attends Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Kinnan Abdalhamid, who attends Trinity College in Connecticut, were expected to make a full recovery. But Awartani - whose grandmother the three 20-year-olds had been visiting over Thanksgiving break from school - received a much graver prognosis, according to a statement his family wrote for a fundraiser to offset his medical expenses.

"He has demonstrated remarkable courage, resilience and fortitude - even a sense of humour - even as the reality of his paralysis sets in," Awartani's family wrote on their GoFundMe page, which had raised over US$200,000 (S$267,000) as at the morning of Dec 3.

Awartani, who is Palestinian-Irish-American, according to the fundraiser, hopes to start his next semester of college on time despite his paralysis, the family's note said.

The shooting came amid a surge in anti-Islamic, anti-Arab and anti-Semitic incidents and threats reported around the United States since a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas erupted on Oct 7.

Eaton has been charged with attempted murder and is being held without bond while the authorities investigate whether the Vermont shooting was a hate crime.

The students were wearing black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh scarves and conversing in a mix of English and Arabic when the gunman confronted them, according to charging documents filed in court.