Residents in the small East Oregon town of Sumpter are in mourning. That’s after authorities confirmed a well-liked local engineer was one of three Americans killed in last week’s terrorist attack on a natural gas complex in Algeria.
Friends say Gordon Rowan was there helping the energy company BP tap natural gas reserves below the Sahara Desert. Word of his killing sent shockwaves through the community of Sumpter just west of Baker City.
Longtime friend Toni Thompson said Rowan told her he wasn’t concerned about his safety.
A recent widower, Gordy—as his friends called him—looked forward to retiring later this year.
“He just was looking forward to starting over to being able to do some snowmobiling and ATVing, hunting, fishing, you know, spending time with his brothers and his kids and grandkids,” Thompson said. “It just seems like such a waste and he was such a good guy.”
According to the Algerian government, 38 workers and 29 militants died in the attack and the subsequent raid by Algerian Special Forces.