U Of I Graduate Killed In Rock Attack By Protesters In Ethiopia

University of Illinois graduate Sharon Gray, who was killed in Ehtiopia.

In this September 27, 2016, photo, Sharon Gray instructs lab members on how to harvest tomato roots from field experiments on the University of California, Davis campus in Davis, Calif. Gray was killed by protesters in a rock attack in Ethiopia Tuesday.

Margo Smit / AP

Friends and colleague of Sharon Gray are mourning the death of the University of Illinois graduate, who was killed this week by protesters in Ethiopia.

Sharon Gray was killed Tuesday when the vehicle she was traveling in was struck by rocks thrown by protesters on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

A Facebook post from the U of I’s Carle Woese Institute for Genomic Biology remembers Gray as “a promising young scientist who was warm-hearted, kind and highly respected among her peers”.

"She enriched the lives of all around her", wrote Plant Biology Prof. --- and  Gray's Ph.D. project supervisor --- Andrew Leakey in another Facebook post. "But her charm and brilliance will live on in the memories of all her knew her and the minds of those who read her work."

After graduating from Illinois in 2013, Gray became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Davis.  She was in Ethiopia for a meeting on a research project when she was killed.  

UC Davis Interim Provost Ken Burtis says the State Department has stepped in to help get Gray’s body back to her family.

Ethiopia has seen months of protests for wider freedoms. The Ethiopian government calls the protesters “anti-peace forces” and says they’ve caused damaged to 11 factories an dozens of vehicles.

Story source: WILL