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American killed in Kenya terror attack survived 9/11 because he was late for work

American killed in Kenya attack survived 9/11
American killed in Kenya terror attack survived 9/11 02:34

Nairobi, Kenya -- Family and friends are paying tribute to Jason Spindler, the American killed in Tuesday's terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Gunmen from the terror group Al-Shabab killed at least 21 people when they stormed a luxury hotel complex with suicide bombings and gunfire.

Jason's parents are flying into Kenya tomorrow to collect their son's body and will also spend time here celebrating his life with the diverse community of friends he had built around him, reports CBS News' Debora Patta. 

Jason was one of the good guys, his parents said. A former investment banker who survived 9/11 because he was late for work that day, Spindler later gave up a high-powered Wall Street career for the chance to make a difference.

"Jason, once you met him, you knew this guy was going to change the world. He had a way about him that everyone would like him," his father, Joseph, said.

That passion for change led him to Kenya where, with co-founder Patricia Chin-Sweeney, he started a company that aims to reduce poverty through investing in developing economies. 

"He believed you could invest, you could build businesses and they would be a means of stabilizing economies and reducing the need for terrorism," Chin-Sweeney said.

The company's offices are housed in the complex that was stormed by Al-Shabab gunmen on Tuesday afternoon. Jason was having a late lunch there when a suicide bomber blew himself up just a few meters away.

But it was Kenyans who bore the brunt of this attack and at the city morgue their unrelenting grief was raw. Agonized cries for all those lives cut short. For Jason's family that reality hits home on Monday, when he would have turned 41.

The Red Cross said all missing persons from the complex have now been accounted for but people are still not allowed back into the complex, where security is tight. Police believe there could still be undetonated grenades that have to be cleared from the scene.

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