Online gamers have launched an initiative to raise money for one of the Americans killed in the recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a diplomat who grew up in San Diego.
Sean Smith, 34, was killed along with two former U.S. Navy SEALs who were also from San Diego.
Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas and Ty Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach were working as private security for the consulate when they were killed in the Sept. 11 attack according to their families.
Smith grew up in Clairemont and was married with two children. After serving in the United State Air Force, Smith began working for the State Department most recently as an Information Officer.
Known as “Vile Rat” in the virtual game Eve, Smith was heavily involved in the online gamer community of almost half a million members.
As a result, more than $30,000 has been raised for his family in response to his death.
“The computer gave him his life,” said his mother Pat Smith who recalled a son who was always taking her computer apart.
“I never knew he was that intense in it,” she said. “I had no idea but that’s where he was and where all his friends were.”
Smith’s mother said her son was online when violence broke out inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Half a world away, Pat Smith learned about the death of her only child in a phone call that woke her up at 12:30 a.m.
She said when she attended the ceremony Joint Base Andrews in Maryland last week, she cried on the shoulders of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.
“I cried on every one of their shoulders,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how they made me feel. They made me feel so wonderful.”
Since returning home, Pat has been sifting through pictures and memories of Sean. Neighbors remember him as "a good American kid."
While online gamers have created memorials to “Vile Rat,” Smith said she wants to honor her son’s memory in another way.
She’s considering selling her home to help raise money to send her sons ashes into space.
"I expected to keep him a little longer but I didn’t have him anyway. He was with his family in the Hague,” she said.
“He was doing his thing. I was always a rebel and he became same type of thing. He went out there."