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Accused Vermont shooter was terminated from financial services job earlier this month

Jason J. Eaton, charged with shooting three students of Palestinian descent, was also formerly a Boy Scout leader in N.Y.

Vermont officials hold press conference on shootings of three Palestinian college students
Vermont officials and family members of the victims spoke at a press conference on Monday afternoon in response to the shooting.

A Vermont man accused of shooting three college students of Palestinian descent on Saturday was terminated from his job with a financial services firm earlier this month, a company spokesperson said Monday.

Jason J. Eaton, 48, was a full-time sales assistant for CUSO Financial Services in Williston, Vt., according to his LinkedIn account. He was terminated on Nov. 8 after working there for less than a year, said Elisabeth Rutledge, a company spokeswoman.

“We are horrified by the shooting and are cooperating with law enforcement as they investigate,” she said in a statement, which declined further comment.

Eaton allegedly shot the students outside his apartment on Saturday around 6:30 p.m., authorities said. He was arraigned Monday and pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder.

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Relatives have identified the students, all of whom are 20 years old, as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad.

Eaton’s LinkedIn page and personal website provide details of his professional and educational history going back nearly three decades. Much of his work history was in New York state.

On Monday. Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said investigators believe Eaton moved to Burlington over the summer and had previously lived in the Syracuse area.

From 2017 to 2022, he worked as a leader for a Cub Scout troop, according to his LinkedIn page. The Boy Scouts of America said Monday that Eaton had been an assistant scoutmaster in upstate New York and was last registered with the organization in 2021.

Eaton is not currently a member of the organization and has not been registered in scouting in Vermont, the Boy Scouts said.

Jason J. Eaton, who is accused of shooting three college students of Palestinian descent near the University of Vermont campus in Burlington, was arraigned via video call at Chittenden Superior Court. Chittenden Superior Court

“Mr. Eaton’s alleged actions do not reflect the values of Scouting. Upon learning of his arrest he was been banned from registering in Scouting any capacity and will be proactively placed in the Volunteer Screening Database, permanently preventing his registration or participation in the future,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.

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Scott Armstrong, a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts, said Eaton left the scouts of his own accord and his membership “voluntarily” expired in 2021.

“He was not dismissed and there were no complaints. He was an Assistant Scoutmaster to a Troop (now inactive) in Syracuse, N.Y., at the time he left Scouting in 2021. He did not receive any honors or awards during his tenure,” Armstrong said.

In Syracuse, the city’s Department of Community Development lauded Eaton for his “dedication and hard work” as a volunteer community liaison between the city and its Eastside neighborhood in 2009.

Brooke Schneider, a city spokesperson, confirmed that Eaton was a volunteer from 2009 to 2011.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, in a separate statement to the Globe, denounced the shooting in Vermont.

“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,” Walsh said.

Travis Andersen and John Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.



John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.