Pence, Ballard react to beheading of Indy native

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – ISIS released a graphic video Sunday that shows a black-clad militant who claims to have beheaded U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.  The White House says a review of the video confirms the death of Kassig.

The governor of Indiana and the mayor of Indianapolis have released statements on the beheading of the Indianapolis native.

Governor Mike Pence issued the statement bellowing following confirmation of Kassig’s death:

Today, all of Indiana mourns the tragic loss of an inspiring Hoosier and heroic American, Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig. The murder of Indiana’s Abdul-Rahman Kassig at the hands of ISIS terrorists is an unspeakable act of barbarism and a tragedy that will be deeply felt by all the people of our state for many years to come.

“Abdul-Rahman Kassig was one of us and he was the best of us. He was a lifelong Hoosier who was admired by all as a loving son, a dedicated student, an Army Ranger, and a compassionate humanitarian who risked his life to render medical aid to refugees in Syria and Lebanon. Karen and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers for this courageous young man, his loving family and friends during this time of heartbreak and loss. Indiana will never forget the service, compassion and sacrifice of Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said:

The world and Indianapolis today lost a man of peace at the hands of fanatics. Abdul-Rahman Kassig found his life calling bringing peace and comfort to his fellow Muslims in Syria. The thoughts and prayers of the civilized world go with Abdul-Rahman, his friends and family in Indianapolis, and those who are fighting terrorism around the world.


Kassig was an Army Ranger veteran who attended Butler University from 2011 to 2012.

The 26-year-old was working on a project for the non-governmental organization he founded, Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA), when he was detained on October 1, 2013, on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.

His family said they maintained silence over the past year at the request of their son’s captors. The family says they have worked “tirelessly and quietly” to get their son back home.

The video also shows what appears to be the mass beheading of several Syrian soldiers captured by the group. The militants warn that U.S. soldiers will meet a similar fate.The video identifies the militant’s location as Dabiq, a small town in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, near the Turkish border.

Governor Pence also ordered that all flags be lowered at state buildings across Indiana starting at sunrise on Monday to honor Kassig. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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