Tags: bombings | sri lanka | easter | deaths

Fifth-Grader, Denver Businessman Among Four Americans Killed in Sri Lanka Blasts

Fifth-Grader, Denver Businessman Among Four Americans Killed in Sri Lanka Blasts
Sri Lankan security personnel inspect the debris of a car after it explodes when police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

By    |   Monday, 22 April 2019 04:16 PM

A fifth grader from the exclusive Washington, D.C., Sidwell Friends School and a Denver businessman were two of four Americans killed in the massive bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka Easter Sunday, according to news reports.

At least 290 people were killed in a series of nine blasts — including at least 30 foreigners, The Associated Press reported.

In a letter to friends and families of students at Sidwell posted Monday by an ABC News affiliate, Sidwell Friends principal Mamadou Gueye wrote that Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa had been spending a year in Sri Lanka on leave from school.

“Passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends in the coming school year,” the principal wrote. He was set to enter Sidwell’s middle school.

Sidwell Friends is where Sasha and Malia Obama attended school, as well as Chelsea Clinton.

Also killed in the bombings was Dieter Kowalski, 40, who lived in Denver and worked for international education company Pearson — and had just arrived at his hotel for a business trip, the company and his family told AP.

A Friday Facebook post reads "And the fun begins. Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!"

Kowalski, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, was staying at the Shangri-La in Colombo, where a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in a third-floor restaurant of the hotel.

"He was standing in a breakfast line in Sri Lanka when the bomb went off," Kowalski's mother, Ingeborg Kowalski, of Milwaukee, told ABC News Monday.

Kowalski was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and worked as a senior leader of Pearson's operation technical services team. He gained a reputation as a fix-it man, who was assigned the "most challenging engineering problems" to figure out, said John Fallon, Pearson's chief executive officer.

"Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was," Fallon wrote in a message to employees Monday, ABC News reported.

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Monday, 22 April 2019 04:16 PM
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