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Recalling Luke Somers as a ‘passionate’ and ‘dedicated’ colleague

American photojournalist Luke Somers, who was killed by his Al Qaeda captors during a failed U.S.-led rescue attempt, was remembered on Saturday by colleagues who knew him in Yemen, including NewsHour Desk Assistant Tik Root.

“It really hit home with a lot of us,” said Root, describing Somers’s capture in September of 2013.

“He was kidnapped in front of a supermarket that we all shopped at, at a time of day when we could have gone there,” Root said in an interview. “And he was doing nothing out of the ordinary. We were very much aware that it could have been any one of us.”

In light of President Barack Obama’s announcement that 33-year-old Somers was among two hostages killed “at the hands of Al-Qaida terrorists” during a rescue attempt conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen, Root published a blog post with some of Somers’s photos showcasing his work in Yemen.

Root said Somers was working as a teacher when Root met him in Yemen — until the Arab Spring uprising broke out in the country. That’s when Somers picked up a camera. 

“I think one of the things that really shone through with Luke was his love of the country and of the people; that was pretty undeniable,” Root said. “And I think, like a lot of people during that time, he was inspired to document what was happening around him.”

Watch our full conversation below: