Sunday, November 19, 2017
Military News

Tampa defense contractor was among 5 killed in shooting rampage by Jordanian police officer

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TAMPA — One of the two Americans killed in a shooting attack Monday that left five people dead at a Jordanian police training center lived in the Tampa Bay area.

James "Damon" Creach, 42, has lived in New Tampa with his wife and three children for several years, family and neighbors said.

Creach worked as a law enforcement instructor for DECO Inc., a privately held company that performs a range of law enforcement and security work. Creach had also worked as a police officer for the Virginia Beach Police Department.

His father, Jerry Creach, said the family still doesn't have much information about the shooting. In a brief interview Tuesday, he said the family was just trying to hold it together.

"We can't really say anything other than how sorry we are," he said.

The other American killed Monday was also a Floridian. Lloyd "Carl" Fields Jr. of Cape Coral was employed by DynCorp International, a major military contractor. He is survived by his wife, Tamara, and three children, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

"We are heartbroken to hear of the deaths of two Floridians, James Creach and Lloyd "Carl" Fields Jr., who were both tragically shot and killed in Jordan yesterday while providing police training to increase safety in the region," Gov. Rick Scott said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "Both men served as law enforcement officers and will be remembered for their service to protect others."

Few details have been released about the attack Monday at the Jordanian International Police Training Center in Amman, Jordan, which left five dead and six wounded. Two of the wounded were American civilians.

The Jordanian government has not released the name of the shooter, a Jordanian police captain, but said the man opened fire in a dining hall before he was killed by security forces.

It was not clear if there was a political motive to the shooting. An American official told the New York Times that the shooter had been fired.

The Americans killed and wounded in Monday's shooting are among the tens of thousands of civilian contractors who work throughout the Middle East, according to news reports. In 2009, according to ProPublica, there were more than 240,000 American contractors working with the U.S. military in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. But that's also the year that President Obama began announcing the withdrawal of large numbers of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Our colleagues gave their lives working on a program designed to positively impact essential national security objectives in this vitally important region," said DynCorp International CEO Lou Von Thaer in a statement Tuesday.

While DECO did not release the names of the employees involved in Monday's attack, the company did issue a statement:

"We are saddened by the attack at the Jordanian International Police Training Center in Amman, Jordan that took the life of one of our colleagues and injured two others. We're supporting our team members and their families and working closely with both the U.S. and Jordanian governments in taking care of our injured and deceased personnel."

Tampa lawyer Mike Benito told the Tampa Bay Times he coached Damon Creach's son in Little League baseball two years ago. Benito said the boy adored his father, who often traveled to the Middle East for work.

"I clearly remember the after-season pool party and how proud his dad was of his son and the championship we won," Benito wrote in an email.

Creach was a huge supporter of his son's baseball league, the North Tampa Athletic Association, according to a Facebook post made by friend Charles Clark. Clark wrote that Creach and his wife, Heather, "have been constant pillars of our New Tampa community and baseball family."

Missy McDaniel, who identified herself as Creach's cousin, shared her sorrow on social media.

"Damon was a good man that loved his family and country," she said on Twitter Tuesday. "We are all completely devastated."

Times researchers Carolyn Edds and John Martin contributed to this report, which also used information from the Associated Press. Contact Katie Mettler at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.

     
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