Burlington, Vermont – A suspect in the attempted murder of three Palestinian students over the weekend has finally been identified by authorities as Jason J. Eaton, a former Boy Scout leader from New York. An independent Justice Report investigation into Eaton’s social media history reveals a mindset of anti-racist, anarchist, and libertarian political beliefs.
Eaton—who was recently fired from his job at a financial services firm earlier this month—is believed to have shot three 20-year-old Palestinian men near his apartment adjacent to the University of Vermont. On Monday, Eaton appeared via video call at Chittenden Superior Court for his arraignment, where he pled not guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder.
The victims have since been identified as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, all 20-year-old men. Details regarding the motive behind the attack have not been disclosed at this time.
Officials confirmed that Eaton was formerly a Boy Scout leader in the area of Syracuse, New York before moving to Vermont over the summer. His LinkedIn page provides an overview of his professional and educational background, which spans nearly three decades mostly in the New York area.
An independent Justice Report investigation into the accused’s social media history has unearthed a number of posts containing glimpses of his personal politics and suggests Eaton was firmly entrenched in libertarianism, anti-racism, and even anarchism. Online Eaton openly describes himself as a “radical citizen” patrolling “demockracy” for “oathcreepers.”
“I suggest we foster an alternative to sorting ourselves into Left and Right. It’s not that simple. I am anti authoritarian and pro freedom. But I’m not racist and I don’t (never have) supported Trump as a leader. I can envision solution: Freedom AND Unity,” he stated. “Generational wealth is at the core of systemic racism,” he said in another,
In a retweet dated April of 2022, Eaton once boosted the account of Zoe Baker, a “Trans anarchist YouTuber” by sharing a quote from Errico Malatesta, a 20th-century anarchist “thought leader” and convicted criminal. In another, he referred to the practice of bussing third-world migrants deeper into the American mainland as a “smart policy.”
On a Reddit post sharing an article that announced the first batch of Afghanistan “refugees” to be welcomed to central New York, Eaton proudly commented, “Welcome home.”
Ironically, in a separate post, Eaton once quote-tweeted President Biden on the topic of mass shootings, stating that the problem with shootings wasn’t guns, but what he calls “unenforceable laws.” “Make civil laws enforceable for the poor. Legal Aid isn’t working. We don’t have rule of law as a result, and so people exercise their own version of justice. Guns aren’t the problem. Unenforceable laws are,” he said.
In another post, Eaton seemingly promoted the idea of privatizing the American education system to allow for the spread of LGBTQ values by retweeting Dennis Pratt, a self-professed “libertarian voluntaryist” on X, formerly Twitter. In other retweets, Eaton appears to support anti-police rhetoric, boosted the FBI’s official account, and applauded articles on so-called “systemic racism” in one of West Virginia’s few majority-Black communities.
“My political strategy is basically to have every agency at every level of government investigating me simultaneously in every country. Is it working?” He said in a post dated April of 2022.
In addition to X and Reddit, Eaton also has a Substack account, which hosts just one article: a tutorial on how to hire and manage dishwashers in a food service setting. Referring to himself as the “ræd.ɪ.kəl” (Radical), Eaton collects tips from readers by listing a Venmo. Eaton was also a COVID-19 skeptic, often railing against the effectiveness of the vaccine and ascribing to conspiracies surrounding the government’s role in what he believed was “population control.”
Until recently, Eaton had been employed as a full-time sales assistant for CUSO Financial Services in Williston, VT. However, according to Elisabeth Rutledge, a spokesperson for the company, Eaton’s employment was terminated on November 8, marking less than a year of his tenure with CUSO.
“The shooting of three Palestinian-American college students in Burlington is tragic. We all must join together in rejecting hatred and intolerance in any form and work toward a nation and world of understanding and peaceful coexistence,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh in a request for comment by the Boston Globe.
The bloody shooting, which targeted three students of Palestinian descent, is just the latest act of violence stemming from the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, a conflict that has stoked animosity between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine camps. In October, just 9 days after the start of hostilities, a 6-year-old Palestinian child living in Chicago was stabbed 26 times and later died in a ruthless attack believed to be hatched by the family’s landlord. Police now claim the boy was killed for his race by a suspect who said he was “angry at what was going on in Jerusalem” before the attack.
“(A) mass shooting of Palestinian Americans. Almost certainly a Jew or lunatic with a philo-semitic motive,” commented Joseph Jordan of the pro-White civil rights organization, the National Justice Party on Telegram. “Will this spark the same outrage Robert Bowers did or the Poway shooter did?”
Individuals who carry out mass shootings against innocent people often prescribe extremist or fringe political beliefs that motivate their actions. In March, transgender mass shooter Audrey Hale gunned down six people—including three 9-year-old children—inside a Nashville Christian School. Leaked pages of her political manifesto were released to the public months later and revealed the shooting was racially motivated against White children. In April, Connor Sturgeon, another mass shooter, targeted a bank in Louisville and killed four of his former colleagues along with a police officer before he himself was killed by police. A series of his journal entries leading up to the massacre were recently released by law enforcement and revealed that he planned to kill “rich white people” to teach them a lesson about loose gun laws.
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