Romanian Immigrant Reportedly Slain in Homeland With PM-Romania, Bjt
FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) _ A Romanian immigrant living in California was killed by security forces as he tried to deliver relief supplies in his embattled homeland, family members said.
Ionel ″John″ Antimie, Jr., 21, a four-year resident of Fullerton, was gunned down by forces loyal to executed former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu over the weekend, his father, Ionel Antimie Sr. said through an interpreter.
The State Department could not immediately confirm the report, but planned an investigation, spokesman Philip Covington said Monday.
The family got the news Christmas morning from friends in Portland, Ore., who were able to get a phone call through to the East European nation and talked with the victim’s brother, Constantine, 32, Antimie said.
The two brothers had been on a holiday driving tour through Europe, their family said, and also had planned to visit Ionel Antimie’s girlfriend, Angelica Hij, 16, who lives in Cluj, Romania, for the holidays.
But when news of civil unrest in Romania broke, the brothers delayed their journey in Germany and bought food, medicine and other relief supplies worth ″thousands of dollars,″ Antimie said.
The Oregon friend told Antimie that the brothers, traveling in a rented car with their supplies, were stopped by uniformed security officers who opened fire, killing Ionel Antimie but apparently allowing his brother to flee.
Constantine Antimie told the friend he had returned to the shooting site and recovered his brother’s body, his father said.
Ionel Antimie Jr. helped run the family’s contracting business. He left Romania with his parents, four brothers and two sisters in 1985, according to a sister, Elena Furdui. Two brothers and one sister stayed behind in Romania, she said.
Tens of thousands of people have died in Romania in recent weeks during the popular revolt. Ceausecu was executed by firing squad Monday.
The Antimie family notified the State Department Monday.
Covington said the State Department will help if it can, but the government does not usually track injuries or deaths of U.S. residents who are not citizens.