Slain Doctor's Family: “Our Hearts Are Aching”

The family asked for the public to "embrace the Afghan people" in light of the tragedy

The family of a Chicago-area pediatrician who was killed in an attack at a charity-based children's hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday said they don't place blame for the death of their beloved father and husband.

"Our family and friends have suffered a great loss, and our hearts are aching," said Jan Schuitema, wife of Dr. Jerry Umanos. "While our hearts are aching for our loss, we're also aching for the loss of the other families as well as the loss, and the multiple losses, that the Afghan people have experienced."

Dr. Umanos was a pediatrician at Lawndale Christian Health Center for more than 16 years, according to a biography on the center's website. He worked in Kabul in the only two medical facilities that offer medical training programs for Afghan doctors.

Officials said it was a rogue security officer who shot and killed Americans at the CURE Hospital, operated by the Pennsylvania-based CURE International. The facility is situated in a walled compound next to the American University of Afghanistan in the western part of the city. An American woman was shot but survived. The gunman shot himself and also survived.

Schuitema said the family loved the Afghan people and does not hold any "ill will toward Afghanistan."

"We don't hold any ill will toward Afghanistan in general or even the gunman who did this," she said. "I would like people who hear this to open their hearts to the Afghan people and understand that the Afghan people are no different than us."

Schuitema had been married to Umanos for 34 years and said the couple has three children together.

Umanos attended medical school at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and did residency at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, his biography stated.

With her son Ben Umanos by her side, a tearful Schuitema said her husband was always searching to help those in need, particularly in Afghanistan, and that need continues.

"He saw the need, he went, as did I for several years, and that need continues," she said. "We would really like for all of our friends and anyone else to please honor Jerry's memory by opening up your:."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement calling  Umanos an "American hero" who "embodied the very best of Chicago."

Gov. Pat Quinn also issued a statement describing  Umanos as a "kind-hearted and selfless man who for years sacrificed the comforts of home to serve those in need overseas."

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