American teacher Ronnie Smith was reportedly shot dead by gunmen in Benghazi today while on an early morning jog. Smith, 33, was a chemistry teacher at the International School in Benghazi, in eastern Libya. He was originally from Texas and married, according to news reports.
The State Department has confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen in Libya. They said they are also in contact with the victim’s family. An unconfirmed photograph circulating on Twitter shows a man wearing running shorts face down on the street, with what appears to be blood by his side and headphones still in his ears.
2. There was an immediate outpouring on Twitter from Libyans who knew him. Mr. Smith’s love for Libya and education were remembered.
We extend our deepest condolences to his family & friends. We strongly condemn the violent crime that has taken please. RIP #Benghazi #Libya
Ronnie was living and teaching in #Benghazi on his own accord, he told friends “If I were to be killed, I will die for Education.” #libya
Thank you Mr.Smith for everything you’ve done for ISB you will always be remembered #RipMrSmith
taqwa embasher ØªÙ‚ÙˆÙ‰
@ShababLibya @isbchem RIP my best teacher and my best friend
6. Smith’s Twitter handle read, “Libya’s best friend.”
Noor Hewaidi â˜ª
Thank you, sir, for believing in our Libyan children when half of their own country had given up on them. #Smith
Headmaster of Int’l School in #Benghazi describes Ronnie Smith to @TerryMoran: “He was determined to make a change. And he did.â€ #Libya
9. Many recalled his humor despite the difficult times his student’s faced.
Mr. Smith’s students sharing their stories and memories please see this hashtag: #MrSmithMemories #libya #benghazi RT
#MrSmithMemories We threw him a birthday party, we brought cakes and everything. So naturally he threw us out of his class.
#MrSmithMemories helping me write my personal statement for uni.. “start with assalamu alekam brothers, this email will self destruct in…”
The State Department warns U.S. citizens not to travel to Libya, which has experienced considerable instability since the ouster of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi in 2011. An attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Benghazi, where the 2011 Libyan Civil War began, has seen a rise in local militia’s in recent months. Residents reportedly blame these militia’s for the near-daily assassinations and bombings that target the army and police.
13. Earlier on Thursday, three Libyan soldiers were also assassinated. Nine people died in clashes last week between the Libyan army and a local Islamist militia.
Suliman Ali Zway
An exceptionally bloody day in #Benghazi ,a number of assassinations took place this morning,the latest targeted an American teacher. #Libya
May God be with the good people who wants to build democratic #Libya, where people could live with dignity, respect and freedom.