Vanderbilt University student Taylor Force was in Tel Aviv for a school trip and became the victim of a Palestinian terrorist stabbing rampage, leaving him dead at the age of 29. His wife was also seriously injured.
Force was visiting a boardwalk near a beach in the Jaffa area when Bashar Masalha, 22, from the West Bank, stabbed him. Masalha fled the scene on foot and began to randomly stab passersby and motorists. Footage (below) captured this scene and the moment Masalha was shot to death by Israeli police. Nearly 12 people in all were wounded, with four in serious condition.
Vanderbilt's chancellor released the following statement:
It is with extreme sadness that I write to inform you that Taylor Force, a student at our Owen Graduate School of Management, was fatally wounded March 8 in a stabbing attack while on an Owen school trip to Tel Aviv, Israel. All other Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff on the trip are safe.
Taylor embarked on this trip to expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel. He exemplified the spirit of discovery, learning and service that is the hallmark of our wonderful Owen community. 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.
Taylor’s family and his friends and colleagues have our deepest sympathy and utmost support.
As support and condolences poured in online, Force became known for being much more than just a student and a husband: he was an Eagle Scout, Army veteran, West Point grad who had served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, as expressed on Twitter by those who knew him.
Force's murder was the latest of three earlier attacks by Palestinians near Tel Aviv. One victim of a separate attack is reported to have pulled the knife from his own neck and use it to kill his attacker.
At the same time Force was breathing his last, Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with leaders a mile away on behalf of the Obama administration's latest efforts to quell the violence between Palestine and Israel.