Transcript for Beloved American Teacher Fatally Shot in Benghazi
This is a special -- Hello -- Hernandez in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report. An American teacher were shot and killed today in the Libyan city of -- Ghazi the same place. We're for American diplomats including the US ambassador were killed last year. 33 year old Ronnie Smith the beloved chemistry instructor at the international school of -- Ghazi had been working in the country for about eighteen months. We're joined now with more on Smith and that -- -- out Corey from his students by ABC's Terry Moran in London. Terry what happened to -- Smith -- What -- this is this is -- terribly tragic story one that tells the story of just how dangerous how chaotic life and -- Ghazi is as you mentioned running Smith a beloved teacher. He had been teaching at that school. For a year and a half. He left school today after teaching a couple of classes went home for a couple of hours and went for a jog as I am told by his students and the headmaster of the school he often did. He led students in physical fitness exercises and -- after school. So we just went for -- run as he frequently did. And a black Jeep pulled up beside him and gunned him down in the middle of the day. -- news spread to the school very very quickly he was known around the neighborhood. He was known by the shopkeepers -- neighbors the hospital called. The school gathered in assembly in the head master broke the news. That Ronnie Smith. A chemistry teacher who was much more than a teacher talking to students reading on Twitter their memories of -- he was a friend and advisor one of those special. Gifted teachers teaching Libyan students and Ben Ghazi. That he'd been gunned down and you can imagine the shock and the grief among the students among that whole school community there. At no indication about who did this thing Ghazi is a chaotic environment. It has been the scene of battles between. Al-Qaeda linked malicious gangsters criminal gangs. And the majority of the people who are trying to establish some kind of order there -- it is a place that. Frankly is a very difficult environment to live in and and to just read day today. -- Smith had dedicated his life. To try to teach the kids there and making a difference and he did but today. He was gunned down. We have some of those tweets that the students put forward sixteen year old movements here wrote he was my teacher. I favorite teacher made fun of my chemistry skills and I laugh every time mr. Smith rest in peace. And that hash tag mr. Smith memories he would call all this corny but we love him. -- you also spoke with the headmaster of the school what did he have to say. Well he said did that there are three other American teachers at this at this school this is a school set up by an international. Educational group. Based in Dubai. That has a commitment to providing the highest quality education a classic British curriculum. In countries that are emerging from. From these Arab revolutions. Ronnie Smith had signed up forty brought his wife Anita. And it's -- year old son Jose -- -- Ben Ghazi you can see in his Twitter feed how much he enjoyed the work. And the challenge of living in Ben Ghazi and -- also get a sense says as you just read out there -- -- from that tweets from his students. What kind of a man running Smith was one of the students remembering asking him why did you name your son Jose area. And Ronnie Smith apparently responded to the when he grows up and he asked me if he can do something I can tell no way -- He seems like someone with a great sense of humor that the students certainly enjoyed. Let's talk about the bigger picture here the state of affairs -- today in -- -- just how dangerous is it for westerners we knew. That he lived in an upscale neighborhood in the compound but perhaps he wasn't running in a protected area. Could be was running in the neighbor the school is located outside of the downtown I was in Ben Ghazi during. The -- Libyan revolution right after it was liberated and it was even at that time. Clearly a city that was at odds with itself a port city there it is tough areas by its nature. And after the revolution it -- much. Else -- -- many of the other areas of Libya. It kinda fell into a chaos with malicious claiming power with -- al-Qaeda coming forward to try to establish an Islamic state there. And with middle class -- ordinary Libyans trying to live their freedom to establish a new country. It there have been. Fierce street battles in Ben Ghazi. Between the forces of order you might say and the forces of disorder and chaos and just recently and al-Qaeda spokesman. Crying out. Publicly for revenge for the capture of of an al-Qaeda. Operative and leader a Libyan and telling Libyans to rise up and attack western interests we don't know. If the murder of Ronnie Smith is low is related to that at all. The headmaster said it is unlikely. That this was anything but a crime of opportunity opportunist. There was no way for them to know that. -- Smith was going to be in that place at that time it was the middle of the day -- that he seemed to just take advantage of the moment. But this is a -- as you say just how chaotic and dangerous. Thing Ghazi and really all of Libya is right now. And you mentioned he was well known and perhaps well liked by people. In the outer community where he lived do we know if he left any family behind if he had moved to being -- with any family. He he did his wife Anita and his two year old son Joselio. Had moved with him and his Twitter feed was full of pictures of the family. Really. Trying to live life -- -- -- going to the beach it's a beautiful day there the -- of Ben Ghazi. His wife and son had returned. Last week to the United States. And -- Smith was scheduled to come back home to the United States this weekend. To spend day family Christmas in the United States and now of course it is his body that. Will be coming home. Right on the more tragic ABC's Terry Moran in London thank you so much for joining us. This has been an ABC news digital special report an American teacher. Shot in 101000 anti Hernandez New York.
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