Jason Spindler, a Jewish American who survived 9/11, died Tuesday when terrorists attacked a hotel and office in Nairobi, Kenya, over the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
While the U.S. State Department has not yet released the identity of the American who died in the attack, Spindler’s family and college roommate Kevin Yu confirmed that he was killed by the al-Shabab militants.
According to CNN, Spindler had a job at 7 World Trade Center in New York City in 2001. On 9/11, he was late for work and emerged from the subway just as the South Tower, the first to fall, collapsed.
Yu characterized Spindler as a man of courage who ran into the rubble to save survivors.
Tech executive who survived 9/11 dies in Riverside attack- Jason’s brother,Jonathan,also confirmed the family’s tragic loss via Facebook
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother,Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi,Kenya pic.twitter.com/znd9YC5iAY
— CLSI-Center for Legal Support International (@RobertMutie4) January 16, 2019
“That’s exactly the kind of person he is,” Yu told The Washington Post. “When we hear explosions of gunfire, a lot of people immediately jump away. His instinct is quite the opposite — he jumps straight at it.”
Yu said Spindler’s experience on Sept. 11, 2001, changed his perspective and, ultimately, the course of his life.
Spindler originally hailed from Houston, had traveled the world, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, and started a career in investment banking. He chose to leave all of that and pursue a law degree at New York University, after which he traveled overseas and pursued social entrepreneurship.
“Something struck a nerve and changed how he felt and thought about things,” Yu said. “He just felt like he could be doing so much more.”
He became CEO of investment firm I-Dev International, but his life was cut short when Islamic terrorists burst into the room where he was having a meeting Tuesday. The attack killed at least 21 people.
Al-Shabab said in a statement that it carried out the attack in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel in Jerusalem.
“It is a response to the witless remarks of the US president, Donald Trump, and his declaration of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel,” the statement reads, according to Agence France-Presse.
Jonathan Spindler announced his brother’s death on Facebook, saying he believed that Jason Spindler put up a fight.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Jason was a survivor of 9-11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!” he wrote, according to Reuters.
Yu echoed those sentiments in light of the bravery he demonstrated on 9/11 and the adventurous passion with which Jason Spindler led his life.
“I have no doubt that when he heard the explosions outside the hotel, he was one of those trying to jump in and help,” he said.
“It would be unlike him if we heard that he sat on the benches and hid in the bathroom.”
Jason Spindler’s family is traveling to Kenya where they will retrieve his body.
They will hold a religious service for him on Monday, which would have been his 41st birthday.
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