Kentucky politicians mourn death of couple killed in Brussels terror attack

03/26/2016 10:06 PM

Stephanie Shults, a Lexington native, and her husband Justin, who had not been heard from since Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, have been confirmed dead, according to their employers and family.

The couple, Justin, 30, and Stephanie, 29, was at the Brussels airport waving goodbye to family when the terrorist attack took place, killing more than 30 people and injuring hundreds more. Islamic terrorist group ISIS has taken credit for the attack.

Within hours of the confirmation of the death of the couple on Saturday, Kentucky politicians expressed their condolences in written statements and through social media.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Stephanie and Justin Shults in the horrifying terrorist attacks in Brussels,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Elaine and I join all Kentuckians in sending our condolences to the couple’s families at this difficult time.”

Stephanie Shults was a graduate of Bryan Station High School and Transylvania University, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray tweeted that “we are grieving tonight the loss of Lexington’s Stephanie Shults & her husband Justin.”

“We join the many others praying for their families.”

Governor Matt Bevin also expressed his sympathy for the families on Twitter on Saturday night.

“Our community mourns the tragic loss of Stephanie & Justin Shults in Brussels,” Bevin wrote. “We offer our deepest sympathies to their family & loved ones.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, issued a lengthy statement on the loss of the couple saying he is “heartbroken to learn that Stephanie and Justin Shults are among the many lives cut short as a result of the barbaric terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium.”

“We will never forget this daughter of Kentucky, the anguish felt by her family, nor the evil that took her from us,” Barr said. “Through this tragedy, we stand more resolved than ever to confront and defeat the enemies of freedom, tolerance, and civilized society.

“Carol and I offer our deepest sympathies to the Shults and Moore families, their loved ones, and their many friends” he continued. “As the parents of two daughters, we extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Multiple other statewide office holders took to social media to express their sympathies on Saturday, including Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Treasurer Allison Ball.

On Tuesday morning, before learning of the Kentucky connection to the attack, state Attorney General Andy Beshear began a press conference offering his “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families.

“It’s time like this that challenge our convictions and our values,” he said. “My hope is that throughout state and federal government, and in our people that we respond not with fear and hate, but with strength and compassion.”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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