DAVIS (CBS13) – People at UC Davis are mourning the loss of a researcher and friend. School officials confirm a report from the U.S. State Department that Sharon Gray was killed earlier this week in Ethiopia.
Sharon Gray’s goal was to help solve the world’s problems.
“She’s always smiling,” said Dinesh Kumar, the interim head of the Plant Biology Department.
“She was a bright young scientist. It’s a great loss to the scientific community,” Kumar continued.
Kumar said he was shocked when he heard the news of Gray’s death.
“I couldn’t speak for a couple of minutes before I said anything.”
Gray was killed in Ethiopia earlier this week when protesters threw rocks at a vehicle she was riding in.
“It’s really a tragedy that this young woman at the start of her career, a really promising young scientists to be lost like this,” said Andy Fell, a spokesperson for UC Davis.
The unrest in Ethiopia is over land and political rights. Days earlier a stampede of protesters killed dozens.
Gray was in the country with a fellow researcher for a conference on how plants respond to stress, drought and climate change.
“This was going to help farmers around the world and help people improve their crops,” said Fell.
Fellow researcher Siobhan Brady was with Gray in Ethiopia. She wrote a message calling the 30-year-old a “valuable team member, mentor and friend.”
Brady’s note continues, she had a “calm and patient nature,” and was “truly committed to helping people through her studies.”
“The whole department is still in shock,” said Kumar.
Gray’s husband also works in the Plant Biology department, people close to him say he’s holding up better than expected.
Friends are encouraged to share photos and memories here.