NAIROBI, Kenya — An American businessman who grew up in Houston has been identified as one of at least 21 people killed in the terror attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi. Jason Spindler, the director of a business development firm who was based in the Kenyan capital, was killed in Tuesday's attack according to officials in Kenya.
Spindler is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
His parents in Missouri City waited eight agonizing hours before the American Embassy confirmed their son had been killed by a suicide bomber while having lunch at his favorite.
“Everyone was hoping and hoping that he was hiding and would turn up with the rest of the people that turned up,” Sarah Spindler told KHOU 11 News.
Jason's father, Joseph, says he was enjoying a successful career on Wall Street when he decided that he wanted to develop a model for helping low-income people.
Jason Spindler entered the Peace Corps and lived in Peru, where he developed sustainable business models for rural residents.
Spindler, who would have turned 41 next Tuesday, later became a founder of I-DEV International and had been living in Kenya for about five years.
His father says he worked with international companies to form business partnerships in Kenya that would boost local economies.
Spindler says his son worked at the complex and often ate at a cafe in the luxury hotel targeted by the gunmen.
"Jason was a survivor of 9/11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell," his brother Jonathan wrote on Facebook, according to The Guardian."
Spindler's friend Chris Schroeder remembered him in a Facebook post as "one of those rare men who was loved by pretty much anyone he touched in Kenya and around the world."
"He chose a life of hope and inclusion," Schroeder wrote. "I am grateful to have known and learned from him."
The five Islamic extremists responsible for the hotel attack were gunned down by police.
At least 28 people were wounded in the overnight attack.
About 700 people were safely evacuated from the complex during and after the attack.