LIBYA -- The death of Ambassador Chris Stevens hits hard in the Northwest.
“We knew him, we worked with him,” said Jeremy Barnicle a spokesman for Mercy Corps.
He said the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Neal Keny-Guyer met with the ambassador during the Lybian revolution last year to plan how to best help the country. “We worked closely with the embassy there and with U.S. government,” said Barnicle.
Mercy Corps has 50 people working in Benghazi, helping the young government learn new ways to communicate and organize. The agency closed its offices out of concern for security. Many were stunned by the death.
“He's somebody who understood the value of engaging local populations. He was broadly known as a friend of Libyans and a friend of folks more broadly in the Middle East. And so his loss is a really serious one," Barnicle said.
The feeling is echoed by many.
“I was absolutely shocked. Absolutely shocked," said Jamal Tarhuni, a naturalized American who was born and lived in Libya until he graduated from high school.
He now represents 200 Libyans living in Oregon. He also traveled back to his homeland several times during the revolution last year and briefly met Ambassador Stevens.
“We would like to send our deepest condolences to the United States government, to the American people and to the families of the people who got killed,” Tarhuni said.
Like many, he called the killing senseless.
“I could not imagine, why would someone hurt someone who came to help them out," he said.