An American man working in a pharmaceutical company was identified as one of the fatalities in the stabbing incident in Reading, England.
According to a report by The Guardian, the victim, 39-year-old Joe Ritchie Bennett grew up in Philadelphia but migrated to England 15 years ago.
Robert Ritchie, Joe’s father, said that his son worked for a law firm in London before his job at a pharmaceutical firm 10 years ago.
He said that his son was an “absolutely fabulous guy.”
“I absolutely love my son with all of my heart and all of my soul,” Robert said.
Joe came from a family of police officers. Robert was a chief inspector while his mother was also a retired police officer.
“I love him. I always have. I always will,” said his brother in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“He was a great guy. He was four years younger than me. I had a paper route at 12 and he helped me every day. I used to buy him something every two weeks to thank him.
“We used to play together every day. We rode bikes together every day. Our family is heartbroken and beside ourselves,” his brother said.
Joe was reportedly friends with another victim, 36-year-old James Furlong, who was a teacher.
In a statement, Furlong’s parents Gary and Janet described their son as “beautiful, intelligent, honest and fun.”
US ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson offered his condolences to the family of those killed in the June 20 attack.
“To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen. Our thoughts are with all those affected. We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement,” he said.
Meanwhile, A US State Department spokesman said that the government will provide consular assistance to the victim’s family.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of all of those affected. Out of respect for the privacy of the family, we have nothing further to add at this time,” he said.
Police captured a 25-year-old man identified as Khairi Saadallah in connection with the incident.
CNN, quoting an unidentified source, reported that the suspect may have been mentally ill before police considered the attack as a terrorism move.
Thames Valley Police detective chief superintendent Ian Hunter was quoted as saying that they were keeping an open mind as to the motivation of the stabbing and that the counterterrorism department was supporting the probe.