Wife of American Christian Doctor Killed in Afghanistan Holds 'No Ill-Will' Towards Gunman

( [email protected] ) Apr 24, 2014 08:37 PM EDT
Afghan Hospital Shooting
Dr. Jerry Umanos is pictured in this undated photo provided by the Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago. Courtesy of Bernardo Barrios/The Lawndale Christian Health Center/AP Photo

The wife of an American Christian doctor who was one of three U.S. doctors gunned down today in an Afghan hospital said that she has no ill-will towards the gun-man who did this, but hopes those who hear her message will open their hearts to the Afghan people in memory of her husband.

"Our family and friends have suffered a great loss. While our hearts are aching for our loss, we are also aching for the loss of other family as well as the multiple losses that the Afghan people have experienced," Jan Schuitema Umanos read a statement today at a press conference.

Her husband Jerry Umanos was a pediatrician who had given up his Chicago practice to spend the last nine years caring for children in the war-torn Afghanistan.

Mrs. Umanos expressed her heart-aches and acknowledged that it will take time for her and her family to adjust to the loss, but she emphasized her husband's will would be to let the public know his love for the Afghan people.

"We don't have any ill-will towards the Afghan people in general and even the gun-man who did this," she said. "We don't know what his history is."

Moreover, Mrs. Umanos implored for the plight of Afghan people as "they are no different from us."

The Umanos couple are both devout Christians, and she testified her husband's life of serving the underserved in Afghanistan and other needy populations in the world.

"He always had a desire to be the hands and feet of Christ," she said. "He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people, because of that love for Christ."

Umanos practiced medicine at Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago for 16 years. There he treated many staff members' children as their pediatrician.

"Today we have lost a very, very dear friend and devoted colleague," Dr. Bruce Rowell, chief clinical officer of Lawndale Hospital, said at a press conference today, according to ABC News. "Dr. Umanos has been a pediatrician for over 25 years and he was the pediatrician for many of our own children.

Umanos left to be a staff doctor for a Christian charity hospital in Kabul. That hospital, CURE International, provided medical services for women and children and was where the deadly shooting took place this morning.

The attacker was a member of the Afghan Public Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital. At this point, they are unsure of his motive for the attacks. This is the second "insider attack" by a member of the Afghan Police force this month.

According to the NY Times, an Afghan government official said the policeman, Ainuddin, had only recently been assigned to the unit guarding the hospital. Witnesses and officials said he fired on the Americans when they entered a security vestibule at the entrance to the building, killing them and wounding a female doctor. Ainuddin, who like many Afghans goes by one name, then entered the interior courtyard, where he continued to fire, officials said.

"The shooter, who was not an employee of CURE, has been identified as a member of the security detail assigned to the hospital, shot himself after the attack," CURE Hospital said in a statement. "He was initially treated at the CURE Hospital and has now been transferred out of our facility into the custody of the government of Afghanistan."

According to Cure International's website, the organization's mission is healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God. It was founded in 2005 by invitation of the Afghan Ministry of Health, and has been treating 37,000 patients a year, specializing in child and maternity health as well as general surgery.