UN guard killed in Afghanistan hailed as heroMIAMI (AP) — A United Nations security guard from Miami who died fighting Taliban attackers at a hotel in Afghanistan is being hailed as a hero by top U.N. staff for the lives he and another guard helped save.
MIAMI (AP) — A United Nations security guard from Miami who died fighting Taliban attackers at a hotel in Afghanistan is being hailed as a hero by top U.N. staff for the lives he and another guard helped save.
Louis Maxwell, 27, and the other U.N. guard, Laurance Mefful of Ghana, held off the attackers for at least an hour, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.
``They fought through the corridors of the building and from the rooftop,' Ban told the U.N. General Assembly. ``They held off the attackers long enough for their colleagues to escape, armed only with pistols against assailants carrying automatic weapons and grenades and wearing suicide vests.'
Maxwell, a 2000 graduate of Miami Central High School, was the only American to die in the siege that left 11 people dead, including the attackers. Mefful was also killed.
On Friday afternoon, family and friends gathered at Maxwell's parents' home in South Florida. A bright white wreath was hung near the home's door.
Sandra Maxwell, Louis' mother, said her son was an outstanding trumpet player at Miami Central High School — so good that he was offered a full music scholarship to Florida A & M University. But he decided to enlist in the Navy after graduating and became a U.N. security guard in 2007.
``He had a heart, determination and was very conscientious in whatever he did,' she said. ``He just didn't give up.'
That determination showed during his final hours, she said.
``I'm told from U.N. top officials that because of my son, 17 people are alive,' she said, crying. ``He was brave. He fought until he couldn't fight anymore.
``He paid the ultimate price. He was a hero.'
The mother spoke with her son for the last time on Sunday.
``I said, 'I love you, be careful,'' she recalled.
``And he said, 'you know I will.' ``
Funeral services in Miami have not been set.