(TRIBLIVE) — An email alert popped into Gregg Roman's inbox as he wrapped up loose ends at his Jewish Federation office in Oakland a couple of weeks ago. His wife was due to deliver their second child any day.
An Islamic extremist group in Syria had beheaded an American journalist, the Aug. 19 alert said. Roman clicked a video link and watched as a shrouded member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria used a knife to kill photographer James Foley.
What came next was even more shocking to him: The video's final few seconds showed the image and name of another journalist — his friend Steven Sotloff — whom captors threatened to kill next.
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“My jaw just dropped,” said Roman, 29, director of the Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
He called Sotloff's best friend in Israel, who confirmed the news. ISIS captured the freelance journalist in August 2013 after he crossed into Syria from Turkey.