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Palestinian Student’s Shocking Vermont Shooting Ordeal

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In Burlington, Vermont, last weekend, a student of Palestinian origin was one of three who got shot. He talked to CBS News about when he found out he was hurt.

Kinnan Abdalhamid mentioned that just after the shooting, he worried his friends might not be alive and thought to dial 911. That’s when he felt “an extreme spike of pain.”

“I put my hand where the pain was, and then I looked at it and it was soaked in blood,” Abdalhamid shared with CBS News’ Errol Barnett in a Thursday night interview. “I was like, ‘holy s***, I was shot.'”

Abdalhamid, a Haverford College student, got shot Saturday night along with his friends, Tahseen Ahmad and Hisham Awartani. They were strolling down a Burlington street. They were there to visit a relative’s home for Thanksgiving, the police explained. Suddenly, a White man with a gun, who didn’t say a word, fired at least four shots.

“We were speaking kind of like Arab-ish,” Abdalhamid explained. “So a mix of Arabic and English. He (the gunman), without hesitation, just went down the stairs, pulled out a firearm pistol, and started shooting.”

Two of the people who got shot were wearing keffiyehs, those black and white scarves that are a symbol of being Palestinian.

After the gunshots, Abdalhamid said he just took off running.

“First shot went, I believe, in Tashim’s chest,” Abdalhamid recalled. “And I heard the thud on the ground and him start screaming. And while I was running, I heard the second pistol shot hit Hisham, and I heard his thud on the ground.”

Abdalhamid didn’t know right away that he had been shot as well.

“Honestly it was so surreal that I couldn’t really think, it was kind of like fight or flight,” Abdalhamid said. “I didn’t know I was shot until a minute later.”

The 20-year-old quickly knocked on a neighbor’s door, who then called 911. Using his EMT training and knowing he needed quick help, Abdalhamid urged the police to take him to a hospital fast.

When he got there, he asked the doctors how his two friends were doing. One of them had hurt their spine, and both were still in the ICU on Thursday.

“I was like, ‘Are my friends alive…like, are they alive?'” Abdalhamid said he asked the doctors. “And then, they were able to ask, and they told me, and that’s when I was really a lot more relieved, and in a lot better mental state.”

After the shooting, Abdalhamid’s mom, Tamara Tamimi, came all the way from Jerusalem to Vermont.

“Honestly, till now, I feel like there’s nowhere safe for Palestinians,” Tamimi said to CBS News. “If he can’t be safe here, where on Earth are we supposed to put him? Where are we supposed to be? Like, how am I supposed to protect him?”

The police caught a suspect, Jason J. Eaton, 48, on Sunday. They’re looking into the shooting as a possible hate crime. Eaton said he was not guilty of three counts of attempted murder and the judge said he couldn’t be released on bail.

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