'The terrorists don't know what they took': Dad of Washington D.C. boy, 11, who was killed in Sri Lanka attack mourns his 'brilliant' son who dreamed of being a neuroscientist as death toll climbs to 310

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, a fifth grader who attends the prestigious Sidwell Friends school in Washington DC, was named as a victim on Monday

23 April 2019 - 08:49

The father of an 11-year-old boy who was killed in a Sri Lanka hotel that was targeted by a suicide bomber on Easter morning said the attacker robbed the world of a great mind.

'I don't know what is in the mind of a terrorist, but I'm sure they do not know what they took, they do not know what they took from the world,' Alexander Arrow said of his son, Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa. 

'They took a great mind who was going to be a neuroscientist and work on Alzheimer's diseases.'  

Arrow, a business executive from San Diego, told KTNV-TV that he last heard from his son, who was staying at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo, less than an hour before he was killed by a suicide bomber while in line for breakfast.

'He texted me back "can't talk right now" because he was in the elevator going to breakfast,' Arrow said. 

'It was about an hour after that when my phone started ringing.' 

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was killed instantly by a suicide bomber who struck the Cinnamon Grand Colombo hotel in Sri Lanka early Easter Sunday morning
Kieran had been in Sri Lanka with his mother for an extended leave of absence from Sidwell. He was due to return to the Washington DC school for middle school but was studying in Sri Lanka, where he has family
 

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa (left and right), was one the American victims identified on Monday as casualties of a suicide bombing in a Sri Lanka hotel

Arrow said Kieran's mother, who survived the attack with minor injuries, was calling him to inform him about the bombing. 

He said he was told by doctors that his son was killed instantly by the suicide bomber.

Arrow is the CEO of a California biomedical firm

Arrow is the CEO of a California biomedical firm

'The terrorists didn't know what they were killing, but we should know what the world lost,' Arrow said. 

Arrow, who is the CEO at California biomedical firm Zelegent, said he had last seen his son when he came to visit his father for spring break in San Diego.

'He wanted to go kayaking,' the grieving father said. 

'In fact, his mom told me on the plane ride back to Sri Lanka last week he said he wanted to come back and do more kayaking. 

'You know it is a good time for some father talks. We had some deep talks out there.'

Arrow said his son was finishing up a semester in Sri Lanka before returning to the prestigious Sidwell Friends school in Washington, DC, where he was hoping to enroll in seventh grade this fall.

'He was learning Chinese and Sinhalese and Mandarin,' Arrow told ABC News. 

'He was into karate, which he took to. He wasn’t much for soccer or softball, but he loved karate. He played the trumpet and all the games. 

'He had a month or two to finish in Sri Lanka and was going to come back for the summer in July and start 7th grade in DC.' 

Arrow said the boy's mother 'devoted her life to him' and took great pains to expand his horizons.

'Her next thing was the Galapagos,' the dad said. 

'That was the next thing she had planned for him. 

'Both she and I have had only him as our only child so he can [have] the kind of devotion. 

'She devoted her life to him...She sacrificed all of her time to be with him everywhere. 

'To give him the culture of all of these places.'  

Sidwell, the $42,000-a-year school, which is a favorite among political families and is where Sasha Obama attends classes, announced his death in an email to parents. 

'Passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends in the coming school year,' school principal Mamadou Guèye wrote in the email that was obtained by CNN. 

It remains unclear if anyone else in his family was harmed. He had been in Sri Lanka with his mother, who is from there, for an extended stay but was due to return to Sidwell next year.  

Arrow said he was told that the suicide bomber who struck the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo on Sunday instantly killed his son. Security forces are seen outside of the hotel after the bombing on Sunday

Arrow said he was told that the suicide bomber who struck the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo on Sunday instantly killed his son. Security forces are seen outside of the hotel after the bombing on Sunday

As you know, Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa has been on a leave of absence from Sidwell Friends School, living and studying in Sri Lanka. We learned today that he died in the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter,' the school's principal said in his email.

'This is obviously an unexpected tragedy for his family and for his greater community, including Sidwell Friends and the class of 2026. 

'Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year. 

'We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.'

It is not clear if his mother, Dhulsini, was also harmed.

Dieter Kowalski, 40, had not been heard from since he landed in Sri Lanka early Sunday morning. He was in the country for work.  

On Monday morning, his brother confirmed that he was among those killed by a suicide bomber at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo hotel. 

A worker from the Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel told DailyMail.com on Monday that Kowalski was one of three Americans staying there. The other two were hospitalized in an unknown condition. 

One was Chimai Tran Luu. She was discharged from hospital afterwards.  

Kieran had been in Sri Lanka with his mother for an extended leave of absence from Sidwell. He was due to return to the Washington DC school for middle school but was studying in Sri Lanka, where he has family
'The terrorists didn't know what they were killing, but we should know what the world lost,' Arrow said

Kieran had been in Sri Lanka with his mother for an extended leave of absence from Sidwell. He was due to return to the Washington DC school for middle school but was studying in Sri Lanka, where he has family. Kieran is pictured left with his mother. His father is pictured right.

 

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