WASHINGTON -- A Washington D.C. 11-year-old was among the more than 300 people killed in the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was having brunch at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel with his mother and grandmother when a suicide bomber detonated not far from their table, according to his dad, Alex Arrow.
Arrow said Kieran was with him recently for spring break before he returned to Sri Lanka.
“I never should have let him get on that plane,” Arrow said.
Keiran was studying at an international school in Sri Lanka for the cultural exposure.
Arrow said his son was going to spend the summer with him in California before returning to Sidwell Friends later this year.
“The terrorists took a great mind from the world,” Arrow said. “He wanted to be a neuroscientist and help other people.”
Sidwell Friends confirmed Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa had been on a leave of absence from the school, living and studying in Sri Lanka.
"This is obviously an unexpected tragedy for his family and for his greater community, including Sidwell Friends and the class of 2026," Sidwell officials wrote in a letter. "Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year."
Nine bombing of churches, luxury hotels and other locations on Sunday killed more than 300 people and wounded hundreds more.
Officials in Sri Lanka confirmed the explosions were a terrorist attack by religious extremists.
Government officials in Sri Lanka said Monday at least 290 people were killed and more than 500 wounded.
Sri Lanka is about 70 percent Buddhist. The Associated Press reported scattered incidents of anti-Christian harassment have occurred in recent years, but nothing on the scale of what happened Sunday.
Below is part of the letter Sidwell Friends sent to families:
I write to share some incredibly sad news with you. As some of you know, fifth grade student 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 Kieran died in the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter. 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.
Several leaders of different religions held an interfaith vigil in Loudon County Monday night to remember the victims killed in Sri Lanka and those impacted in the D.C. area.
Aravind Renganathan attended Monday night’s vigil and said his friend died in the bombings.
“Thinking he’s not here anymore, it’s kind of hard to take,” he said.
People directly impacted, like Renganathan were handed roses and flowers to symbolize love and life.