Jerusalem Bus Attack Claims Third Life: Richard Lakin

Two weeks after being shot and stabbed in Armon Hanatziv, 76-year-old American grandfather succumbs to his wounds.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Scene from Jerusalem bus attack at Armon HaNatziv. October 13, 2015.
Scene from Jerusalem bus attack at Armon HaNatziv. October 13, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

An American grandfather of eight and former school principal who was critically injured in a Jerusalem bus attack has died, according to hospital officials.

Richard Lakin, aged 76, was shot in the head and stabbed in the chest by Palestinian assailants who attacked passengers on a bus in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiyot)

Richard Lakin.Credit: Facebook

In that attack, two terrorists boarded a bus on the 78 line. One of them opened fire, while the other attacked passengers with a knife until police arrived and subdued them. Two Israelis – Haviv Haim, aged 78, and Alon Govberg, aged 51 – were killed, and at least 16 others were wounded, among them Lakin.

Lakin was taken in critical condition to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, where he underwent surgery and his condition was stabilized. Yet, despite ongoing treatment in the emergency ward and multiple surgeries, he died Tuesday morning. His funeral will take place Wednesday.

The assailants, who boarded the bus at the stop close to the entrance of Jabel Mukaber, were identified as Bilal Abu-Ghanem and Bahaa Alian, residents of East Jerusalem. Elian had previously written on Twitter, "Tell the [Palestinian] Authority that [restoring] calm lies in the hands of the people, and not anyone in the leadership."

Later that day, another Israeli – Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky, 59 – was killed when a vehicle rammed into people waiting at a bus stop on Malchei Yisrael Street in central Jerusalem, and the assailant got out of the vehicle and stabbed victims with a meat cleaver. Three others were wounded in the incident – two moderately.

A Facebook page set up following the attack on Lakin posted a message Tuesday which appeared to be from Lakin's children saying doctors had worked "diligently around the clock" to save their father, but his injuries were too severe.

"This morning, with his family around him he faded gently into a permanent sleep and we kissed him goodbye," the post read. "Dad was a kind, gentle loving person whose legacy is 'acts of kindness."

On his website, Lakin described himself the "recipient of endless joy from my children and grandkids, and from the smiles, laughter and sense of wonder of the hundreds of elementary school children I had the good fortune to work with as a teacher and principal."

His book — titled "Teaching as an Act of Love: Thoughts and Reflections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid" — was published in 2007.

Former colleague Anne Alvord remembered Lakin as "naturally respectful and gentle and effective."

"He was a very peaceful man in the way he worked with his teachers and students," Alvord told the Hartford Courant. "That was his magic, really."

Lakin is survived by his wife, two children and eight grandchildren.

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