This weekend, flags at Penn State were at half-staff to honor a loss in the Penn State community.
Sean Smith, a Penn State World Campus student, was among the four casualties in Benghazi, Libya after a mob attack on the U.S. embassy on Sept. 11.
“Because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during her remarks after the attack, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of State.
Smith, who was taking online courses in information, sciences and technology, worked as an information management specialist with the U.S. Foreign Service, University Spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.
“This is obviously a tragedy for his family, Penn State and the nation,” Powers said.
Smith was stationed in the Netherlands, but was deployed to Libya to assist IT efforts, Powers said. He was also an Air Force veteran, she said.
However, Smith was much more than that, Clinton said.
“He was a husband to his wife Heather, with whom I spoke this morning. He was a father to two young children, Samantha and Nathan,” Clinton said. “They will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to our country, service that took him from Pretoria to Baghdad, and finally to Benghazi.”
In addition to working for the U.S. Foreign Service, Smith was also an avid player of EVE Online, according to an article in the New York Daily News. The online world came together to mourn Smith this weekend, who was known as “Vile Rat” in EVE Online.
“R.I.P Sean ‘Vile Rat’ Smith,” a Facebook group with over 1,000 likes, has allowed loved ones and online gamers to show their support for Smith’s family and to mourn his death.
The attacks, responsible for the first death of a U.S. ambassador in 30 years, were said to be triggered by outrage over the movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which was said to be anti-Islam.
However, a U.S. counterterrorism official said that the attacks were too coordinated to be spontaneous. Libya’s new leadership has vowed to find those responsible for the attack.
Around 50 Marines were sent from Spain to guard U.S. diplomatic facilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.