Houston Native Killed In Kenya Terror Attack

Jason Spindler grew up in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas.

Security forces help civilians flee the scene as cars burn behind, at a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

A University of Texas graduate who grew up in Houston is among the 21 people killed in Tuesday’s terrorist attack at a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that an American was among the dead, and the company I-DEV International confirmed that co-founder, Jason Spindler, was killed.

Jason Spindler’s father, Joseph, said his son worked in the complex and often ate at a cafe in the luxury hotel targeted by the gunmen. 

He said his son grew up in Houston, graduated from the University of Texas and started with a successful career on Wall Street.  His brother wrote in a Facebook post that Jason had survived the September 11 World Trade Center attacks in New York, according to The Guardian

Jason then went on to join the Peace Corps and lived in Peru, where he developed sustainable business models for rural residents.

Spindler, who would have turned 41 next Tuesday, later became a founder of I-DEV International and had been living in Kenya for about five years.

His father says he worked with international companies to form business partnerships in Kenya that would boost local economies.

Africa’s Islamic militant group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack, which involved explosions and people being gunned down at cafe tables. It’s the same group that carried out the 2013 attack at the nearby Westgate Mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead.

On Wednesday the country’s president said that Kenya’s security forces have killed the Islamic extremist gunmen whose assault on a luxury hotel and shopping complex took 14 “innocent lives.” “All the terrorists have been eliminated,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in announcing an end to the overnight operation to secure the complex in Nairobi.