PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - An elderly American missionary who was stabbed to death last week in Haiti was a generous man who dedicated his life to the impoverished country after a devastating 2010 earthquake, churchgoers and friends recalled at a memorial service on Wednesday.
George Knoop, an elder with the Quisqueya Chapel, was attacked inside his home by an unknown assailant in the Delmas suburb of the Haitian capital on May 13.
After the attack, the 77-year-old former Chicago-area teacher managed to place a cellphone call for help but was unable to speak, said Charles Ronald, 28, who was Knoop’s roommate for two years.
Friends rushed to his house and found him on the floor in a pool of blood.
“I studied the Bible with him and he helped me a lot. He was generous, helping people, paying for their school, their rents, their food,” Ronald said.
During the memorial friends took the microphone to pay tribute, standing next to the Haitian and U.S. flags.
“We all know how special he was, a beautiful person. He loved to pray,” said another roommate, Andy Ripp. “I‘m sad but happy because I know now he’s in deep sleep with God.”
The motive for the stabbing is unknown and no suspects have been arrested, according to police. Some media reports have said that a computer was missing and a knife was recovered at the scene.
“While nothing is certain, there is a high likelihood that this was not a crime of opportunity, but premeditated murder,” according to a blog post by fellow church member Zach Segaar-King.
Knoop also worked as a volunteer in Haiti sorting mail and packages for Florida-based Missionary Flights International, a group of pilots who fly Christian charity missions to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
Joe Karabensh, a senior vice president with the group, said Knoop moved to Haiti after hearing at his church about the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people.
“He heard about the desperate need in Haiti and felt God wanted him there,” he said.
He said Knoop taught Bible classes and mentored young men. Knoop was divorced and did not have children.
When Knoop moved to Haiti “he gave away everything, his TV, his car, his clothes,” Pastor Larry McCarthy, his pastor at Moody Church in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.
Additional reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by David Adams, Cynthia Osterman, Eric Walsh and Mohammad Zargham