‘Prognosis is bad’: Brown University student shot in Vermont will likely never walk again, mom says

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Brown University student of Palestinian descent who was shot in Burlington, Vermont, over Thanksgiving weekend in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime will likely never walk again, according to his mother.

Twenty-year-old Hisham Awartani, one of the three young Palestinian men who were spending their Thanksgiving break in Burlington, was walking with the other men during a visit to the home of Awartani’s relatives when they were confronted by a white man with a handgun and shot, police said.

Elizabeth Price, Awartani’s mother, says doctors have told her to prepare for her son never being able to walk again due to a bullet that struck his spine.

“He’s understanding now the very long road that he has in front of him. He has another month in the hospital and several months of physical therapy, but currently, the doctors say he’s lost function in both of his legs,” Price said. “The prognosis is bad. The prognosis is that he won’t regain it.”

Price said she and her husband, Ali Awartani, are now scrambling to travel from the West Bank to Vermont to be by their son’s hospital bed. They wanted their son to stay in New England for the holiday break because they thought he’d be safer in the United States than in Palestine.

“This is a dangerous time in America if you are associated with a group that is involved in these conflicts,” Price said. “There’s too much hate speech against all sides and in that toxic context, people take action on their own.”

Demonstrations have been widespread and tensions in the U.S. have escalated as the death toll rises in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The other two men Hisham was with were last said to be in stable condition.

Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arraigned from jail on Monday on three counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.

Federal agents found a gun in Eaton’s apartment on Sunday and according to a police affidavit, he refused to identify himself but came to the door holding his hands palms up, and told the officers he’d been waiting on them.

Hundreds gathered at Brown University on Monday night to pray for the shooting victims.

An investigation remains ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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