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British Jew killed in USA

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-07-09

Alan Senitt

Alan Senitt

A former chairman of the Union of Jewish Students has been murdered in Washington DC. Alan Senitt, 27, was working in the US capital when he was killed early Sunday morning in the Georgetown area while walking home with a female friend.

Lieutenant Robert Glover of Washington DC's violent crimes branch homicide unit, said the murder happened during the early hours of Sunday morning when Mr Senitt and his friend were confronted by four people at around 2am.

"A demand was made for cash and property,"  Lieutenant Glover told SomethingJewish.

During this altercation, Mr Senitt was stabbed and when police arrived at 2.18am, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have arrested four people for the murder, who are described as two black males, one 15-year-old black youth and one black female. One male was also charged with intent to commit sexual assault.

"We located the two males at 5.30am and the 15-year-old and female gave themselves in to police at 12.30," Lieutenant Glover added.

An autopsy is due to take place and arrangements for Mr Senitt's next of kin to fly out to Washington are being arranged.

Victim support services is also being offered to Mr Senitt's friend.

The four charged people are due to attend court on July 10 and other than the 15-year-old youth were named as Christopher Piper, 25, Jeffery Rice, 22 and Olivia Miles, all of Washington.

Mr Senitt was very involved in the Jewish community. After leaving UJS he took on roles working for the All-Party British-Israel Parliamentary Group and the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) was founding director of the Co-Existence Trust, a charity that brings Muslim and Jewish leaders together to combat prejudice.

In a statement, BICOM said: "We deeply mourn the tragic loss of our dear friend and colleague. Alan was a true shining star, a friend and a caring, peace-loving human being. Despite his young age, his contributions to the community and to peace-making in the world were already making a difference. The BICOM family will miss him terribly. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Mr Senitt recently left the UK to work as a volunteer for US politician Mark R. Warner and his presidential campaign.

In a statement, the Jewish Leadership Council which is made up of a number of leading Jewish organisations and individuals said of Mr Senitt:

"Alan was a communal professional who brought great distinction to every role that he held.  Alan became a true friend of those that he worked with.  He was an outstanding and passionate advocate for Israel, whilst articulating a message of tolerance and co-existence.  Alan will be remembered as somebody who regarded service to the community as a privilege and was always determined to make a positive impact on communal life.  His example of Jewish leadership will inspire many future leaders of our community.  He will be remembered with affection and admiration."

A member of Edgware Reform Synagogue, Mr Senitt was also involved in local politics and stood for the Labour Party in May's local council election and had hoped to get a seat on Barnet Council.