WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ/AP) — A Washington DC area 5th grader was among the Americans killed in the Sri Lanka church and hotel bombings on Easter Sunday.
Alex Arrow confirmed his son Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa died while he was having brunch at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel with his mother and grandmother, WUSA9 reported.
Sidwell Friends, a prominent private school in NW DC, sent a letter home to parents saying the 5th-grade boy had died in the terrorist attack. He was on leave from the school and living and studying in Sri Lanka.
He was slated to return to Sidwell Friends for middle school next year.
“I never should have let him get on that plane,” Arrow said to WUSA9. His father said Kieran wanted to be a neuroscientist.
In a letter to parents, a school official wrote:
I write to share some incredibly sad news with you. As you know, Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa has been on a leave of absence from Sidwell Friends School, living and studying in Sri Lanka. We learned today that he died in the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter. This is obviously an unexpected tragedy for his family and for his greater community, including Sidwell Friends and the class of 2026. Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year. We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.
We plan to speak to the fifth grade tomorrow, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to speak with your child(ren) at home. We would prefer that students hear from an adult, if possible, so we suggest that you speak with your children before school tomorrow. We will meet as a grade right after silence, and we also know that students may be communicating with each other in other ways before then. With that in mind, and out of respect for Kieran and his family, we ask that you discourage your children from engaging in conversation about his death using “group chat” mechanisms, be that by phone or social media, as it can sensationalize something very serious and personal. After we speak with the students, please know that we will have counselors available, as well as other teachers and faculty. We know that tomorrow will likely be a different day than usual, and we are prepared to support students with whatever they need. Please know that if your child seems to need a day home with you, we will understand that, as well.
At least 290 people died and 500 were injured in nine bomb blasts. Sri Lankan officials say the main attacks were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a local militant Muslim group. At least four Americans were among those killed.
A Denver, Colorado man who was excited to be in Sri Lanka for his job with an international education company was among those killed in the Easter blasts.
Dieter Kowalski’s family in Madison, Wisconsin, was notified of his death Sunday. His mother, Inge (IN’-gah) Kowalski, told The Associated Press on Monday that she’s working with the embassy to bring her son’s body back to the United States. She says the family’s in shock.
Kowalski lived in Denver and was a senior leader of the operational technical services team for the company Pearson. CEO John Fallon said in a message on LinkedIn that Kowalski had just arrived at his hotel when he was killed in an explosion.
President Donald Trump has called the prime minister of Sri Lanka to express condolences for Easter attacks that killed nearly 300 people.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley says Trump called Ranil Wickremesinghe Monday morning.
Trump pledged United States support to Sri Lanka in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and the leaders re-affirmed their commitment to the fight against global terrorism.
Sidwell Friends is where Sasha and Malia Obama attended school, as well as Chelsea Clinton.
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