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Local man killed on mission trip

January 02, 2004

From staff and wire reports

A Hagerstown man who was serving as a missionary in Kenya was killed in an attempted robbery Tuesday during an annual visit to the African nation, a Kenyan police department official said.

Paul Arnold Ritchey, 62, of 12167 Walnut Point West, was a member of the Bible Brethren Church at 524 Ridge Ave., Hagerstown.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our husband, father and grandfather," son-in-law David Hutchinson said Thursday evening in a statement from Ritchey's family.

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"We have no official information about the circumstances of his death," he said.

Ritchey was shot Tuesday evening in Malaba near the Ugandan border, William Okello, the officer in charge of Teso district, said by telephone.

"There were two local children watching television in the house where he was staying, and the intruders told them to lie down," Okello said. "When Ritchey came out of the bedroom, one of the men told him in Kiswahili to hand over his money. Apparently he didn't understand, and he told them to go away. Then he was shot."

Ritchey was a guest of Pastor Arnold Opacha of the Baptist Outreach Church in Malaba. Opacha said Ritchey had been coming to different towns in Kenya for several years to preach at local churches.

Hutchinson said the family would have no other comment during its time of mourning.

Ritchey's pastor, J. Paul Reno, said he would not comment, citing the family's wishes for privacy.

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