20 November 2012

Rwanda Student Shot in the U.S.

A 20-year-old Rwandan student in Iowa, US, shot early Sunday, was yesterday morning said to be in fair condition. Sioux City Police identified the victim as Natacha Butera, a foreign exchange student attending Briar Cliff University.

Butera was shot in the arm and chest about 1:12 a.m. in the first-floor of Mac Behr's, 1201 Fourth St., police say. Soloman Harris, 24, was charged with assault while participating in a felony, willful injury, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and reckless use of a firearm with serious injury.

He made his initial court appearance Sunday. His next court date is Nov. 28. Sioux City Police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick said it appears Butera and Harris did not know each other. Harris, who was standing near the dance floor, fired a gun at a man he been in a fight with, Kirkpatrick said.

Police wrote in court documents the bullet fired from the .45-caliber pistol instead hit a woman, who was later identified as Butera. It pierced her liver and a lung, according to the documents. Butera was taken to Mercy Medical Center - Sioux City. She was listed in fair condition Monday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said. Harris was being held in the Woodbury County Jail Monday morning in lieu of $75,000 bail. Briar Cliff University officials released the following statement about the shooting.

"The Briar Cliff community is very saddened about this unfortunate situation. Our main concern is for the well-being and continued recovery of the victim. We are working together to attend to her needs and those of her family and friends and of our students."

The Minister of Health Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's Ambassador to the US, James Kimonyo, members of the Rwandan Diaspora and friends of Rwanda are closely monitoring the situation and offering all the support they can to the family.

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