Slain US ambassador born in GV | TheUnion.com

Slain US ambassador born in GV

Matthew Renda
Staff Writer
In this photo taken Monday, April 11, 2011, then U.S. envoy Chris Stevens, center, accompanied by British envoy Christopher Prentice, left, speaks to Council member for Misrata Dr. Suleiman Fortia, right, at the Tibesty Hotel where an African Union delegation was meeting with opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya. Libyan officials say the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans have been killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
ASSOCIATED PRESS |

Christopher Stevens, a 52-year-old U.S. Ambassador to Libya who was killed on Tuesday during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was born in Grass Valley in 1960.

He was the son of Jan Stevens, who graduated from Grass Valley High School in 1951, and went on to work in the California Attorney General’s Office, said 78-year-old Grass Valley resident Lois Robinson, who was a classmate of Jan Stevens at the Nevada County high school in the 1950s.

Christopher Stevens’ grandfather Elmer Stevens was a teacher at Grass Valley High School, before it consolidated with Nevada City High School and became Nevada Union, Robinson said.

Christopher Stevens moved to Davis soon after his birth and began his education at Pioneer Elementary School before moving onto the Bay Area. The California native reportedly died of smoke inhalation after a fire was created by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Stevens became separated from his staff and attempted to escape to the roof before succumbing to the smoke, according to multiple published reports.

Stevens is the sixth U.S. ambassador to be killed on duty, the Associated Press reported. The last was Adolph Dubs, who was killed in Afghanistan in 1979.

Stevens graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, like his father, and upon graduation, entered the Peace Corps, teaching English in a remote village in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.

He joined the Foreign Service in 1991 and raised through the ranks to become an instrumental part in strengthening the U.S.-Libyan relations after helping to depose Moammar Gadhafi.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported the attack, originally portrayed by media outlets as an outpouring of outrage by protestors angered by an anti-Islamic film produced in California, was actually an organized two-part operation by heavily armed militants.

Wanis el-Sharef, eastern Libya’s deputy interior minister, said the attacks Tuesday night were suspected to have been timed to mark the 9/11 anniversary and that the militants used civilians protesting an anti-Islam film as cover for their action, the Associated Press reported.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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