A United States teacher who was killed in Iraq had connections to Brazil.
Jeremiah Small, 33, Cosmopolis, Wash., was killed by an 18-year-old male Iraqi student in his classroom earlier this week.
Small was the nephew of Dr. David Breitweiser and wife Nancy, Brazil.
Eyewitness accounts confirmed Small's death via social media outlets.
"Somebody saw a posting on his Facebook (page) from one of his students," Dr. Breitweiser said.
According to reports, Small was teaching at the Classical School of the Medes, a private Christian academy of elementary through secondary grade level classes. The school is located in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq.
The Medes program, according to reports, runs three schools in the provinces, which make up Iraq's northern Kurdish region.
"I think he had been there since 2005 or 2006," Dr. Breitweiser said. "He had taught the whole time."
Small worked for Servant Group International, based in Nashville, Tenn.
"He was a very devout Christian and just had a heart for serving people," Dr. Breitweiser said.
According to Servant Group's website, American teachers "often help teach one or two courses per semester."
The school's website reports that more than 95 percent of its students come from Kurdish Muslim families.
Reports state the incident appeared to be a murder-suicide, with the student taking his own life.
Dr. Breitweiser said Small was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up there.
For a short while, he lived in Alaska, but his family now lives in Washington.
"I had last seen him a couple of years ago at a family function," Dr. Breitweiser said. "My children were in contact with him through Facebook. Most of the family was in contact with him.
"The last I had talked to him, which had been a while, he loved what he was doing. He just had a heart for it. He was just a wonderful guy."
Dr. Breitweiser added the family was still "shocked" by what had happened.
"It's all very early," he said. "The family is holding out OK, the best I can tell, but everybody is just kind of in shock. He was such a gentle man ... just a great guy. You just wouldn't expect something like that. This is one of those tragedies that you don't expect to happen to someone you know."