Alexander Arrow was planning on making a life for him and his son, Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, at his new home in Lakeside. But on Easter Sunday, a series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka took the life of his 11-year-old boy and hundreds of others.
“Tell everyone – just – hug your kids extra hard, because life is delicate,” said Arrow.
Zoysa was spending a year in Sri Lanka, on leave from a private school in Washington, D.C., where he lived with his mother. He was at a luxury hotel at the time nine nearly simultaneous bombings went off throughout the country. Both his mother and maternal grandmother survived the blast.
Arrow said in an interview with NBC's Today Show that he called Zoysa on Easter morning, less than an hour before a suicide bomber set off an explosive in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel's buffet line.
Arrow told NBC 7 he moved to Lakeside more than a year ago and wanted to make it home for he and his son, who wanted to be a neurosurgeon specializing in Alzheimer's disease.
“He would inspire everyone around him to be their best,” Arrow said. “He impacted everybody. He made people want to be better and have better goals for themselves.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Zoysa visited his father for spring break just weeks before the deadly attacks; the boy left San Diego for Sri Lanka on April 14, the UT reported.
The attacks at three hotels, three churches and three other locations killed more than 350 people and injured 500 others. Sri Lankan authorities blamed seven suicide bombers of a domestic militant group for coordinated Easter bombings.
The coordinated attacks were considered Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago.