GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (April 24, 2013) — There is a West Michigan connection to an attack on a hospital in Afghanistan in which Americans were killed.


GRPD Officer Ben Umonas, January 2014

FOX 17 News has learned Grand Rapids Police Officer Ben Umonas is the son of Dr. Jerry Umanos, who was killed when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital Thursday.

Officer Ben Umanos was sworn in at Grand Rapids Police headquarters in January.  He was among 10 officers sworn in for the first time in five years.  They were replacing officers who left the department.

Officer Umanos is a former Manistee County Sheriff’s Deputy.  We’re told Ben is on his way to Chicago to be with family.

The following is an article about the Afghanistan attack from our partner The Chicago Tribune.


CHICAGO, Ill. – Chicago Tribune – (April 24, 2014) – A pediatrician who worked at a health clinic on the West Side was among three Americans killed Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, in the latest of a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan.

Dr. Jerry Umanos was killed along with a father and son visiting the Cure Hospital, which specializes in children’s and maternal health, according to Health Minister Suriya Dalil and the clinic where Umanos worked.

“As they were walking out of the hospital, the security guard opened fire on them, killing three and wounding another one,” an Interior Ministry official said.

Dr Jerry Umanos

Dr. Jerry Umanos, killed in Afghanistan

Umanos returned to practice at the Lawndale clinic, then went back to Afghanistan, according to a biography of Umanos on the clinic’s website.

An online biography said Umanos coordinated Afghanistan’s only residency training programs and directed clinical care for under-served residents of Kabul.

“Jerry learned through his work at Lawndale to ‘roll with the punches’ when things don’t go as planned,” the clinic said on the website. “This has been integral to his work in Afghanistan, where each day is so unpredictable.”

The Lawndale Christian Health Center provides affordable health services. Founded in 1984 by a local church on the site of a former Cadillac dealership, the health center has expanded to offer a fitness center, and has satellite clinics in Homan Square, Farragut Career Academy and Archer Heights.

More than 30 staff members from the Lawndale clinic have traveled to Kabul “to assist in teaching physician residents, midwives and community health workers,” the clinic says on its website. “Additionally, many LCHC providers and staff have traveled to countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Indonesia and Liberia.”

Attacks on security forces, Afghan civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the beginning of the year, as Western forces prepare to leave the country and Afghans choose a new president.

The shooting occurred in the grounds of the Cure Hospital, considered one of the country’s leading hospitals, as well as being a training institution.

“They were not the people carrying guns, they did not have military uniforms, they came here under immense pressure and were here only to serve the people of Afghanistan,” Dalil said.

“This was an inhumane and brutal action, and unfortunately will impact our health services.”

The Cure organization began operating the hospital in 2005 at the invitation of the Afghan government. According to Cure’s website, 27 doctors and 64 nurses work there.

The attack came nearly three weeks after Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon, 60, wounded while they were sitting in the back of a car in the east of the country.

The assault on the journalists came shortly after an Afghan journalist with the Agence France-Presse news agency was killed alongside eight other people when Taliban gunmen opened fire inside a luxury hotel in the center of Kabul.

Also in March, a gunman shot dead Swedish journalist Nils Horner, 51, outside a restaurant in Kabul.

Eight Afghans and 13 foreigners were killed in January when a Taliban suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a restaurant in Kabul’s diplomatic district.