NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A student at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and Army veteran was stabbed to death Monday in Israel.
Taylor Force, a 28-year-old Texas native, was visiting Tel Aviv on an Owen school trip when the attack in Jaffa, a town outside of Tel Aviv, occurred.
Vanderbilt confirmed he was the victim of a series of stabbings and shootings led by Palestinians on Israeli people, according to the Associated Press. There were 12 other victims, all Israelis, who were injured but survived.MORE: Palestinian attacks kill American tourist, wound 12 Israelis
Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, the foreign press spokesman for Israeli police, took to Twitter to post updates on the attacks in Israel. In one tweet, he posted a photo of the knife used in the Jaffa attack that murdered Force, later adding the attacker was shot and killed.
The U.S. Department of State said Tuesday it “condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s outrageous terrorist attacks in Jaffa, Petah Tikyah, and Jerusalem.”
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Taylor and all those affected by these senseless attacks, and we wish a speedy recovery for the injured,” spokesman John Kirby said.
“As we have said many times, there is absolutely no justification for terrorism. We continue to encourage all parties to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions and restore calm,” the department concluded.
The Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee also responded Tuesday, saying, in part, “On behalf of our entire Jewish Federation family, we offer our deepest condolences and our prayers go out to the family and friends of Taylor Force. We are saddened beyond all measure at this wanton act of violence that has taken the life of such a fine young man.”READ MORE: Jewish Federation of Nashville responds to stabbing of Vanderbilt student
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed his condolences on Force’s passing on Facebook, saying, “On behalf of the people of Israel, I send my condolences to Taylor’s family and friends. May his memory be a blessing.” Click here to read Netanyahu’s full statement.
Vice President Joe Biden also took to Twitter regarding the student’s death, saying, “Tragic attack in Jaffa today, taking the life of an American. There is no justification for such acts of terror.”
Twenty-nine Vanderbilt students, accompanied by four faculty and staff, were traveling to Israel to learn about global entrepreneurship through meetings with start-up companies.
All other students, faculty and staff on the trip are safe, and the university is arranging for their return and care.
Force was a first-year MBA student in the class of 2017.
“Taylor’s family and his friends and colleagues have our deepest sympathy and utmost support. He exemplified the spirit of discovery, learning and service that is the hallmark of our wonderful Owen community,” said said Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos. “This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world.”
Force graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute, a coed boarding military high school. The school said they are “deeply saddened” to hear of his passing.
“Our Alumni are a vital part of our school and history. On behalf of New Mexico Military Institute, Our thoughts are with his family, friends and Community during this tragic time,” said Major General Jerry Grizzle, President of NMMI.
After finishing high school, Force went on to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 2009.
According to the Associated Press, 28-year-old Force then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vanderbilt University also reminded those affected by Force’s passing Tuesday they have resources available for faculty, students, and staff. For students, please reach out to the Psychological Counseling Center 615-322-2571; for faculty and staff to the Employee Assistance Program 615-936-1327. The Office of Religious Life and University Chaplain can be reached at 615-322-2457.