Two Emory University students were among 28 people killed in a hostage situation at a bakery in Bangladesh.
As many as nine gunmen stormed the restaurant, which is popular with tourists, on Friday, taking dozens of hostages.
Among them were Faraaz Hossain and Abinta Kabir. Hossain was from Dhaka, Bangladesh and Kabir, who was originally from Miami, was there visiting family.
The New York Times reported that at some point during the hostage situation, gunmen gave Faraaz the opportunity to leave. He wouldn’t leave his friends behind, though, and was found dead the next morning.
“We really don’t know how to grasp this because this is so shocking and no one could ever see it coming,” Rifat Mursalin said.
Mursalin says he met Hossain earlier this year when he needed help on a school project.
“He didn’t need to be asked for help. He reached out and just offered to help,” Mursalin said.
Hossain and Kabir were in the cafe together in Dhaka when the terrorists stormed in. Nearly 11 hours later, they were dead along with dozens of other hostages, six terrorists and two police officers. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
One of Kabir's first teachers is struggling with the tragedy.
“It's just so hard to believe that she was there and she was suffering for 10 or 12 hours. I don't even want to think about it. I'd rather remember her with that smile that she had,” Lenita O’Rouke said.
Kabir had just finished her freshman year at Emory’s campus in Oxford where flags are now at half-staff.
Hossain was preparing to start Emory’s business school in the fall.
Kereisha Harrell says she worked with Hossain and Kabir on a committee that planned schoolwide events. She says both Hossain and Kabir were part of an honor society recognizing academic achievement.
"We are honestly shocked," Harrell said. "A lot of us are not ready to talk about it. But we were a family. It hit us hard. There are a lot of people very upset. We're just trying to support each other through this."
Mursalin says he's concerned that the number of extremists in his home country is growing and that innocent people will pay the price.
“The chances of this happening, this terrible tragedy, is just so low. And two students from Emory University, just here at home in Atlanta, (it’s) just an unbelievable tragedy,” he said.
Friends plan to hold a vigil on campus Thursday at 1 p.m. in their memory.
Emory University released the following statement about the tragedy:
Emory University has learned that two Emory students, Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain, were among those taken hostage and murdered by terrorists yesterday in the attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Abinta, who was from Miami, was a rising sophomore at Emory’s Oxford College. Faraaz, a junior from Dhaka, was a graduate of Oxford College and a student at the university’s Goizueta Business School.
The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of our university family. Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Faraaz and Abinta and their families and friends for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time.
In the wake of this terrible loss, the university is offering support to members of our community through counseling services.
Friends shared memories of the two students on social media.