Virginia Man, Daughter Among Terror Victims

Scherrs were participants in spiritual program

RICHMOND, Va. -- A father and his teenage daughter from a Virginia community that promotes a form of meditation were among those killed in the terrorist attacks in India, a colleague said Friday.
Alan Scherr, 58, and daughter Naomi, 13, were in a cafe Wednesday night in Mumbai when they were killed, said Bobbie Garvey, a spokeswoman for the Synchronicity Foundation. The U.S. State Department confirmed their deaths on Friday morning.
The Scherrs were among 25 foundation participants in a spiritual program in Mumbai. Four others on the mission also were injured in the cafe attack in the luxury Oberoi hotel, Garvey said, including two women from Tennessee.
Alan Scherr was a Maryland native and a former college professor who lived at the Synchronicity sanctuary about 15 miles southwest of Charlottesville.
"I would call them bright stars," Garvey said of the Scherrs. "Extraordinary, bright, very positive -- examples to the world."
The Scherrs had lived at the foundation all of Naomi's life, Garvey said. Alan Scherr's wife, Kia, and her two sons did not travel with them to India.
Naomi, a home-schooled 8th-grader, earned impressive marks and scored in the top tier on national academic tests, even while occasionally dying her hair blue, exuding an individuality that delighted her family and friends, according to the L.A. Times.

Mona Kaufman, a Synchronicity volunteer, said Naomi "always wanted to go to India. She was an incredibly gifted young lady with such a bright future."
According to the foundation's Web site, the community is led by Master Charles, a former leading disciple of Swami Paramahansa Muktananda. He is described on the Web site as "one of the most popular spiritual teachers from India to build a following the West in the 1970s." He taught a form of yoga.
Garvey identified those injured as: Helen Connolly of Toronto, who was grazed by a bullet; Rudrani Devi and Linda Ragsdale, both of Nashville, who both underwent surgery for bullet wounds; and Michael Rudder of Montreal, who remains in intensive care after being shot three times. Other members of the mission narrowly escaped the attack.
The injured said they saw Alan Scherr take a bullet to the head and fall to the ground. They also said they saw Naomi on the ground but did not know where she had been shot.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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