An 11-year-old Baltimore County boy who was on safari in Botswana was killed Tuesday by a hyena that attacked him inside his tent, a U.S. State Department official said yesterday.
Mark Garrity Shea of Brooklandville was traveling with his mother on their second visit to Botswana in two years when the attack occurred, said the official, who had few specifics about the incident.
The boy, who was known as Garrit to his classmates, was a pupil at Fort Garrison Elementary School in Baltimore County. He was to attend a private school in the fall.
"This is devastating news," said Kim X. Whitehead, principal of Fort Garrison. "Garrit was an excellent student - a gifted student. He loved reading. He read everything ... he could get his hands on."
Garrit, who had a keen interest in wildlife, lived with his mother, Molly Bruce Jacobs, and an elder brother, Bradford Jacobs Shea. He raised emus, large birds that are native to Australia, in his family's large backyard, a neighbor said.
The boy's father, Mark Shea of Timonium, said he could offer no additional details about his son's death. "It's such a difficult time for me now," he said.
Garrit's maternal grandfather, Bradford M. Jacobs, who died in 1997, worked for The Evening Sun as political reporter, London bureau chief and editorial page editor. Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday but will be handled in Baltimore by Henry W. Jenkins and Sons, 4905 York Road.
Sun staff writer Tom Bowman contributed to this article.