NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A West Point graduate who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan was the Vanderbilt University student stabbed to death during a series of attacks in Israel, officials said.
Taylor Force, a 28-year-old MBA student who grew up in Lubbock, died during a school-sponsored trip to learn about startup companies overseas. Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, in a letter notifying students, faculty and staff, called the incident a “horrific act of violence” but provided no details.
A dozen Israelis, civilians and police officers, also were wounded in the knife and gun attacks that authorities in Tel Aviv said were carried out by Palestinians.
Along with the Jaffa attacker, three other Palestinian assailants were shot and killed in the day’s rash of violence, the latest in a wave of near-daily Palestinian assaults on Israeli civilians and security forces that erupted in mid-September.
Force graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army from 2009 to 2014, according to his LinkedIn page. He had been based at Fort Hood, Texas, as a platoon leader and fire support officer, among other duties.
Stuart Force, Taylor’s father, spoke briefly with The Associated Press by phone.
“He was a great kid,” he said before he received a call from family and ended the conversation.
Force went to high school at New Mexico Military Institute and was an Eagle Scout, according to the LinkedIn page. At West Point, Force was a member of the ski team and received a bachelor’s degree in engineering and industrial management.
Zeppos said in his letter that the other 28 students and four Vanderbilt staffers on the trip were safe. The university is arranging for their return to the United States.
“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,” Zeppos wrote.
He said university resources are being made available for students, faculty and staff who may seek counseling.