Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The American teacher reported shot and killed in Benghazi, Libya yesterday has been identified by the United States Department of State as Ronald Thomas Smith II.
State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf announced yesterday "we can confirm that a U.S. citizen named Ronald Thomas Smith II was shot and killed in Benghazi. He was a teacher at the International School there. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends and loved ones. We are in contact with the family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. Out of the respect for the privacy of those affected, I don’t have a lot of further details at this time. For questions on the investigation, of course, we’d refer everyone to the Libyan authorities."
"Ronnie" Smith, 33, moved to Libya with his wife, Anita and young son to teach high school chemistry, and had worked at the International School Benghazi for the past 18 months. Principal Peter Hodge told NBC News that Smith was "very much loved."
The Smiths' church in Texas, where Smith had previously worked, released a statement which read, in part, "Ronnie’s greatest desire was for peace and prosperity in Libya and for the people of Libya to have the joy of knowing God through Christ." He was planning to join his wife and son in Austin before the Christmas holiday but "Ronnie, out of a sense of dedication, had stayed in Libya to be with his students through their midterm exams." His wife and son returned to Texas several weeks ago.
Smith was killed in the same Libyan city as the deadly attack against the U.S. Consulate 15 months ago during which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
[U.S. Department of State] [NBC News]