Three Americans killed, two wounded in northern Iraq drive-by shooting

Thursday, March 25, 2004

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Three Americans researching needs for humanitarian projects in northern Iraq were killed and two were wounded in a drive-by shooting March 15 in Mosul. The workers were in the area under the auspices of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

Killed were Larry T. Elliott, 60, and Jean Dover Elliott, 58, of Cary, N.C., and Karen Denise Watson, 38, of Bakersfield, Calif. The Elliotts had served with the International Mission Board in Honduras since 1978 and transferred to the Middle East in February 2004. Watson had been with the board since March 2003.

Names of the injured are being withheld until family members have been contacted.

IMB President Jerry Rankin said all Southern Baptists shared the sorrow and grief of the families and co-workers.

"In times like this, there are no words that will take away the pain of a loved one's violent death," Rankin said. "Everyone in the IMB family and everyone who loves Southern Baptists' overseas workers are grieving with the family members and co-workers of these precious souls.

"We are grateful that God himself comes alongside us in our deepest sorrow and comforts us in a way no one else can."

The International Mission Board has mobilized its prayer network and is asking Christians everywhere to pray for the healing of the injured workers and the comforting of all the families involved.

The board is ministering to the families of the victims. A field representative has been dispatched to the injured workers, who are being treated at a U.S. military hospital.

The deaths of the Elliotts and Miss Watson came barely a year after IMB missionary Bill Hyde was killed by a terrorist's bomb at the airport in Davao City, Philippines. Just 14 months ago, Southern Baptists also suffered through the deaths of three workers who were murdered by a terrorist at the Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen.