American teacher Ronnie Smith shot and killed near U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

The 33-year-old victim hailed from Texas and taught chemistry at the International School in the volatile Libyan city. He was killed while going for a morning jog and described himself online as “Libya’s best friend.”

ronniesmith_small American teacher Ronnie Smith shot and killed near U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

Gunmen shot dead an American chemistry teacher in Benghazi as he jogged by the site of the notorious attack on a U.S. consulate, Libyan officials said Thursday.

The victim, who hailed from Texas, worked at the International School Benghazi in the volatile city, according to security sources and a spokeswoman for the Al-Galaa hospital where the body was taken.

NBC News identified the instructor as Ronnie Smith, 33, and reported he had worked at the school for 18 months after time spent teaching in Egypt. His colleagues told the network he had planned to visit his family back in the U.S. for Christmas.

He was shot while going for a morning jog, and was near the U.S. consulate where three American and U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens were killed during a coordinated attack by Islamic militants on Sept. 11, 2012, according to Ibrahim al-Sharaa, a Libyan security official. 

“He was doing his morning exercise when gunmen just shot him. I don’t know why. He was so sweet with everyone,” said Adel al Mansouri, director at the Libyan-owned school that teaches an American curriculum.

No one claimed responsibility for the shooting.

libya-embassy-attack American teacher Ronnie Smith shot and killed near U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

MUSTAFA EL-SHRIDI/EPA

A man holds a gun in the air next to burning buildings at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Libyan officials said Thursday an American teacher was shot and killed in the troubled city.

Smith describes himself as “Libya’s best friend,” on a Twitter account appearing to belong to him.

People who identified themselves as friends and students of Smith grieved on Twitter. 

Protestors in Benghazi burned an American flag three days after the coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate there in 2012.  

522782757 American teacher Ronnie Smith shot and killed near U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images

An explosion rocked a foreign ministry building in Benghazi on Sept. 11 — the one-year anniversary of the attack on a U.S. consulate there that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.  

Benghazi was the site of an attack by Islamist militants on a U.S. consulate in 2012 on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks.

Four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The attack revealed critical weaknesses in consulates’ security policy. The Obama administration faced withering criticism for its handling of the aftermath of the attack.

Since the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 Libya has been in a perpetual state of instability.

The armed groups who ousted the longtime dictator now control large swaths of territory, stalling efforts to democratize the oil-rich North African country.