At least 68 were killed, 175 injured including five Americans, in a deadly shooting rampage at an upscale mall in Nairobi. One of the injured Americans is from San Diego. Elaine Dang lived in Carmel Valley before she moved to Kenya. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian reports.
A 26-year-old woman with ties to San Diego was among the many victims injured in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday when a group of gunmen stormed a crowded shopping mall and began firing shots, killing at least 68 people and wounding 175 others.
According to a tweet posted by a La Jolla-based organization called the New Leaders Council, local Elaine Dang was injured in the mall shooting in the Kenyan capital, but is expected to survive.
The message posted to the group's Twitter page Saturday read:
“Prayers to @NLC_LA alum Elaine Dang, injured in Nairobi. She expects a full recovery. #muchlove #NLCFamily”
New Leaders Council Los Angeles Board President, Eric DeSob, spoke to NBC 7 San Diego about Dang on Sunday.
"Elaine is an incredibly strong and brave person," said DeSob. "I worked with her through New Leader Council Los Angeles which trains young progressive leaders like Elaine to impact the world in meaningful and positive ways. Her time and work in Kenya to date have done just that," DeSob added.
DeSob said that before joining the New Leaders Council, Elaine also taught high school students on a Native American reservation in New Mexico.
A tweet posted by another company called Eat Out Kenya also referenced Dang in connection with the deadly shooting spree.
That tweet read:
“Sadly @eladang was wounded in the incident. She's in hospital but so far we're hoping for the best.”
Later, another tweet posted to the Twitter page for Eat Out Kenya read:
"Our team who was at #westgate today are safe and recovering at hospital. RIP to all the victims. Thank you for all the messages."
Sunday morning, a Twitter account believed to be owned by Dang tweeted a photo of what appears to be her in a hospital. The accompanying text read, "Proof that I am OK - hanging out with some of my best friends in Nairobi."
Upon researching, NBC 7 learned that Dang currently serves as the general manager for Eat Out Kenya, a website that helps visitors and locals find the best restaurants and bars in Kenya.
A social media profile belonging to Dang indicates that she's worked for the company in Nairobi since June.
On Saturday, the company posted the following statement on their Facebook page:
"The EatOut Family is shocked and horrified at the incidents that have taken place today at Westgate Mall. We send our condolences to everyone who was in the Mall today, and to all the families of those who have been hurt and injured. Members of our team who were at the Mall are all stable and being looked after. We have lost friends today."
The company also said they would be "closed until further notice."
Address records indicate that Dang once lived in San Diego County. Her social media profiles say she graduated from Torrey Pines High School and then went on to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dang also appears to have worked for several humanitarian groups in California, including Teach for America and the National Leaders Council.
Meanwhile, NBC News reports that the U.S. State Department has confirmed that at least four American citizens were among the 150 victims injured in the shooting at Westgate mall in Nairobi. There have been no reports of American casualties, according to NBC News. The mall is a popular shopping destination and is frequented by Westerners.
NBC News reports that the Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened additional strikes, saying it was in retaliation "for the lives of innocent Muslims" killed by Kenyan forces leading an African Union offensive against al-Shabab.