RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Four Americans researching needs for humanitarian projects in northern Iraq were killed and one was critically 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.; Karen Denise Watson, 38, of Bakersfield, Calif.; and David E. McDonnall, 29, of Rowlett, Texas. 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, McDonnall since November of last year.
McDonnall's wife, Carrie, 26, also of Rowlett, Texas, remains in critical condition March 16.
David McDonnall died the morning of March 16 en route to a military support hospital in Baghdad. Four U.S. military surgeons had worked six hours to save his life.
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."
According to the IMB, the four workers died from bullet and shell fragment wounds reportedly fired by unidentified assailants wielding automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
Before heading to the mission field the Elliotts were members of First Baptist Church in Cary, N.C. They kept close tabs with members of the church; whenever they were stateside, they stayed at First Baptist’s mission house.
Watson, meanwhile, was a member of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.
McDonnall was a member of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
The McDonnalls, who had met as IMB workers in the Middle East, celebrated their first wedding anniversary during a volunteer trip to Iraq last June.
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, Watson and McDonnall 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.
Let us keep the families of these 4 missionaries in our prayers. For now, the souls of the 4 saints are now under the altar of the Lord Jesus.