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Slain Benghazi Jogger Was US Church Staffer

12-10-2013
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An American teacher killed in Libya last week had served on the staff of a Texas church before moving to the North African country.

Baptist Press reports Ronnie Smith, 33, taught chemistry at the International School in Benghazi for 18 months. Before that he served on staff at Austin Stone Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation.

Last week, Smith was gunned down on a city street as he went for his morning jog.

"He was the most amazing person, more like a best friend or family member," one of Smith's students, Yomna Zentani, told NBC News.

"After everything that happened in Libya, we were losing hope and he was the only one who was supporting us, motivating us.... He dedicated so much of his time for all his students. He chose to come here and help us and risk his life," Zentani said.

No one has claimed responsibility for his death, but radical Islamists called for the kidnapping of Americans living in Libya last October.

Friends are remembering Smith as a devout Christian and family man.  

"Ronnie and his family moved to Benghazi to teach high school chemistry and to be a blessing to the Libyan people," church leaders said in a statement. "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."

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