The Latest: US woman killed in Africa a passionate scientist

DAVIS, Calif. - The Latest on an American researched killed in Ethiopia (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

The family of a California researcher killed by rocks thrown by protesters in Ethiopia calls her a bright human being they were lucky to share part of their lives with.

Sharon Gray's family said in a statement released late Thursday night that she was a passionate scientist, friend, spouse, sister, daughter and colleague.

The statement says Gray's family members are picking each other up and growing together in her absence.

They have started a fundraising webpage aimed at mentoring young women in science in her name.

Grey was in the African country for a meeting to kick off a research project when she was killed Tuesday while travelling in a car in the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. The area has seen months of deadly protests. The exact circumstances of the attack remain unclear.

Gray's department chair at the University of California, Davis, says she was a leader in the study of how climate change affects plants.

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12:45 p.m.

A University of California, Davis professor says an American researcher killed by rocks thrown by protesters in Ethiopia was a talented scientist with a bright future.

Plant Biology Department Chair Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar said Thursday that Sharon Gray was always smiling and a "slip of sunshine." He says she was a leader in the study of how climate change affects plants.

Grey was in the African country for a meeting to kick off a research project when she was killed Tuesday while travelling in a car in the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. The area has seen months of deadly protests.

Dinesh-Kumar says the circumstances of the attack are still unclear. He says a fellow UC Davis professor in Ethiopia was shaken but not hurt and is returning home.

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