Justin Shults, 30, and his wife, Stephanie, 29, were saying their goodbyes to Stephanie’s mom, Carolyn Moore, at the Brussels airport when the two blasts went off. Moore was not injured and has safely returned to the US.
“We found out today that cowards took my brother’s life,” Justin Shults’ brother Levi Sutton said on Twitter.
Sutton also confirmed Stephanie’s death: “The world lost two amazing people today.”
Stephanie was always so happy. I really enjoyed any chance I got to be around her. The world lost two amazing people today. It’s not fair.
— Popcorn Sutton (@PopcornSutton__) 26 марта 2016 г.
Sutton said Justin Shults was “smart and kind and generous” as well as hard working.
“He traveled the world leaving each destination better than when he arrived. Knowing that I’’ll never be able to see him again hurts, but it’s worse that my future children will never get to know their uncle Justin as he would’ve been a tremendous role model,” Sutton wrote.
Justin grew up in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Stephanie in Lexington, Kentucky. Both worked as accountants, moving to Brussels in 2014.
Employers of Justin and Stephanie also spoke out, confirming their deaths and offering their condolences.
Clarcor, a filtration company that employed Justin, said in a statement that he would be remembered as an “intelligent, kind and loyal friend and employee.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie’s employer, Mars Inc., said staff are mourning the loss of their colleague.
“Our hearts and thoughts are with their families, and with all those who are suffering during this terrible time,” the company said in a statement.
Vanderbilt University also issued a statement, as both Justina and Stephanie graduated from the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
“This bright young couple chose, in the spirit of discovery, to become global citizens in order to grow, to learn and to broaden their perspective,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zep said in a statement. “They represented the very best of Vanderbilt and Owen.”
The US State Department initially created confusion earlier this week by giving false hope to the family by saying that the couple has been located. Later, it was revealed that the family was misinformed.
The Brussels attacks also killed sister and brother Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, who were American residents as well as Dutch nationals.
The US Ambassador to Denmark James Cain on Friday confirmed their deaths in the terror attacks. Both had been at Brussels Airport on Tuesday to return to their home city of New York. The bombs exploded just before the siblings were preparing to check in for their flight.
While Pinczowskis were Dutch citizens, they had lived in New York and intended to gain citizenship in the United States, Cain told NBC News.
At least 31 people were killed and more than 270 injured in the attacks. While the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group has claimed responsibility, Belgian and French police are still hunting down suspects linked to the cell or cells that planned this and other attacks in Europe.
Earlier the State Department had said that 12 Americans were injured in the blasts, but no details were given concerning their identities or conditions.