Officials said it initially appeared that one man shot Laurence Foley, who worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan, at least eight times at close range. The attack came at approximately 7:20 a.m. local time as Foley got in his car.
“One assailant or more was behind the criminal shooting and investigations are ongoing to reveal the culprits,” a Jordanian security official told Reuters.
Neighbors reportedly said they did not hear the shooting, prompting some investigators and reporters to question whether a silencer was used. A Jordanian security official told the Associated Press that the attack appeared to be “well-organized and well-planned.”
Police said they had few initial leads and no organization had claimed responsibility.
Although authorities have not labeled the attack a terrorist assassination, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Affash Adwan did call the shooting “an aggression on Jordan and its national security.”
The incident was the first murder of a western diplomat in the history of the kingdom.
According to wire reports, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher visited the U.S. embassy, pledging a swift investigation and promising to bring the shooter to justice.
“The Jordanian government is going to deal seriously with this horrible crime,” the Jordanian news agency quoted the minister as saying.
The U.S. embassy expressed anger at the attack and sorrow at the loss of a colleague.
“All of us in the American community convey our deepest condolences to the Foley family on the death of such a warm and loving man,” the embassy said in a statement. “We are outraged by this incomprehensible act.”
The embassy also informed all Americans living in Jordan of the attack and reiterated that “all U.S. citizens remain vigilant in view of threats to American interests.”
The murder also comes a month after the embassy warned U.S. citizens of a report that a member of the al-Qaida network had plans to kidnap Americans in Jordan earlier this year.