MOSUL, Iraq (ABP) — Four Southern Baptist missionaries were killed and a fifth critically injured in a drive-by shooting March 15 in Iraq.
The International Mission Board team was in Mosul, Iraq, researching the needs for future humanitarian projects. The group specifically was examining the need for water purification. Initial, but unconfirmed, reports indicate unidentified assailants opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
Killed were Larry T. Elliott, 60, and Jean Dover Elliott, 58, of Cary, N.C.; Karen Denise Watson, 38, of Bakersfield, Calif; and David McDonnall, 29, of Rowlett, Texas. McDonnall's wife, Carrie Taylor McDonnall, 26, also was in the vehicle and is in critical condition. At press time, she was to be airlifted to Germany.
The attack is the most deadly tragedy in 157 years of Southern Baptist missions history. Eight IMB missionaries have been killed by terrorists in the past 14 months.
Officials of the IMB encouraged Christians to pray for the families, friends and churches of those who died or were injured. Jerry Rankin, IMB president, said the pain of this incident is deeply felt.
“In times like this, there are no words that will take away the pain of a loved one's violent death,” Rankin said in an IMB release. “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.”
The Elliotts had served with the International Mission Board in Honduras since 1978 and transferred to the Middle East in February 2004. Watson, who was single, had been with the board since March 2003. The McDonnalls had served since November 2003.
The deaths came 14 months after three IMB mission workers were murdered by a terrorist at the Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen. One year ago, IMB missionary Bill Hyde was killed by a terrorist's bomb at the airport in Davao City, Philippines.