An American Christian school gym teacher was killed in northern Iraq's Kurdish region Thursday after a student shot the teacher before turning a gun on himself, the Associated Press reported.
"There was an argument between the student and his American teacher," province governor Zana Mohammad Salih told AP. "We cannot say there is a political or religious dimension to the incident and the investigation is still going on. It is an ordinary criminal incident."
Salih identified the American teacher as Jeremiah Small. News reports gave conflicting information about the students' identity, however the AP reported that the student initially survived his wounds and later died at a hospital.
The shooting occurred at the Medes School, a private, English-language institution that is part of a network of schools across the region.
An estimated 95 percent of the school's 2,000 students come from Kurdish Muslim families, according to the Medes School website.
Reuters said a US embassy spokesman said the embassy was aware of the shooting and was looking to obtain additional details.
The shooting occured in a relatively peaceful region of Iraq, one of few areas where Reuters noted Westerners tend to live and work without employing special security measures.
The Medes School website even features an ad aimed at recruiting American teachers.
American teachers typically teach one or two classes a semester, spending the rest of their time building relationships in their communities and with their students, said the ad, which features several smiling faces holding an Iraq or Bust sign.
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