Body of Copt killed in Maryland shipped home to Alexandria

06-02-2018 08:04 PM

Nevine Kameel

The body of a young Copt who was killed in Maryland, US, is being shipped for burial in his hometown of Alexandria, Egypt. It is expected to arrive Wednesday 7 February, but the family has given no details yet of the funeral service.

According to police, the body of the 28-year-old Egyptian pharmacist Andrew Samir Mahany Kolta was found shot next to the parking lot of an apartment building on the evening of Sunday 4 February. He was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

Neighbours said they heard arguing voices followed by gunshots.

Police said that Dwayne Stephen Commock, 18, Celeste Maureen Long, 21, and Shamar Terrence Hamm, 22, have been arrested and charged with first and second-degree murder of Andrew Samir Mehany Kolta, 28 in what was an armed robbery incident.

In Alexandria, Egypt, news of the death of their son was received by his family with shock, disbelief, and immeasurable grief. Watani met the young man’s father, pharmacist Samir Mehany Kolta, and his mother Mona Shafiq Rizqallah who said they were informed of the news by her sister who resides in Virginia. “We still can’t grasp the news,” she said in tears. “My son was a peaceful young man who had no enemies. He was popular and had many friends in both Egypt and the US. He had left Egypt in 2013 to study and find work in the US; he studied for three years and passed his exams after which he qualified for work and found a job at a pharmacy in Maryland.

“We used to be in touch with Andrew on a daily basis; he always sounded cheerful and said his life was divided between his work, friends, and church.”

Watani was also able to get in touch with Andrew Kolta’s friends in the US, who said he had, together with friends of a man, wife, and their small son, spent the weekend with an Egyptian family in New Jersey. When they returned Sunday evening, Andrew dropped his friends at heir home which is situated a few minutes drive from his, then drove himself home. Obviously, he was shot once he parked his car. The police called his aunt in Virginia and informed her of the death.

Dr Kolta, overcome with grief, called for help of the Egyptian authorities to speedily bring back home his son’s body for burial.

The authorities promptly responded to the breaved father’s plea. Coordinated work among Nabila Makram, Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Egyptians Abroad; MP Suzy Nashed, and officials at the foreign Ministry succeeded in speeding up the paper work so that the body would be flown to Egypt aboard EgyptAir and arrive at Alexandria Wednesday 7 February. MP Nashed said that Ms Makram was able to persuade the authorities to fly the body to Egypt at the expense of the State; the Egyptian embassy in Washington had said that Andrew Kolta held a green card, so his family should bear the cost, but Ms Makram insisted he was an Egyptian citizen. The cost amounts to some US25,000 which is a little less than a staggering half-a-million Egyptian pounds.

No details on the funeral service have yet been announced by the family.

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