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Denver man died in Easter morning explosions in Sri Lanka, employer confirms

Posted at 7:04 AM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 08:11:15-04

DENVER — A Denver man has been identified as one of the 321 people who were killed in the Easter morning explosions in Sri Lanka.

John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, which is a publishing and education company, sent a letter to employees Monday morning, where he confirmed that one of their employees, Dieter Kowalski, had died Sunday morning. Kowalski had just arrived at his hotel in Sri Lanka when one of the explosions occurred.

A coordinated series of attacks at churches and hotels on Easter morning around the South Asian island killed 321 people, including several Americans, and injured at least 500 others. Police have arrested 24 people in connection to the suicide attacks. On Tuesday, Sri Lanka officials said the bombings were retaliation for the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand in March.

Kowalski, who lived in Denver, was a senior leader of the company’s operation technical services team, Fallon said, and he was looking forward to an action-packed week after the holiday. He had visited the country two and a half years earlier, and was eager to reunite with his colleagues there, who had become good friends.

Dieter was a big-hearted, full-spirited man, Fallon said.

“He was a man who took great pride in the purpose of our company – helping our students progress in their studies and their lives mattered to him,” he said.

He said the company is praying for his soul, and for this family and friends.

“We’re angry that a good man, who took simple pleasure in fixing things, has been killed, along with many others, by evil men and women who know only how to destroy,” Fallon said.

In the wake of this tragedy, he said it’s important to remember the love Dieter had for his friends and family, and the love they had for him.

“Let’s remember his love of life and his love of solving people’s problems,” Fallon said. “In these desperately difficult days, let’s honor Dieter by showing that love ourselves, by taking extra care of each other — at work, at home and in our communities.”

You can read his letter in full here.