The New Hampshire school where Steven Sotloff spent his high school years released a statement Tuesday evening, saying the school community was “deeply saddened” to hear reports of his death at the hands of Islamic extremists.
Sotloff was a 2002 graduate of Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., the school said in the statement.
The school said Sotloff was “dedicated to putting a human face on the sufferings and hardships in some of the world’s most challenging conflict zones.”
“His courageous actions have and will always inspire our students and our community,” said Head of School Mike Schafer. “While the Kimball Union community mourns the terrible loss of Steven Sotloff, we proudly celebrate his important legacy and his deep commitment to making the world a better place. We send our deepest condolences to the Sotloff family.”
Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, ‘‘our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people,” the Associated Press reported.
Sotloff came to Kimball Union, which is about a dozen miles south of Hanover, N.H., as a sophomore in 1999. The school said he was “an active and involved student whose interest in journalism was evident early on.”
Sotloff revitalized the school paper and received an award for his efforts at graduation. Sotloff was also on the student council, an admissions tour guide, and an active member of the school’s fire brigade. He played varsity football and rugby and appeared in the musical, Cabaret, the school said.
Sotloff had returned to campus as recently as the school’s April 2012 Global Fair, where he spoke about the causes and outcomes of the 2011 Arab Spring, the school said.
The footage released Tuesday — depicting what the U.S. said appeared to be a sickening act of brutality — was posted two weeks after the release of video showing the killing of James Foley and just days after Sotloff’s mother pleaded for his life.
The New York Times reported that Sotloff’s family had issued a statement saying they believed he had been killed.