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SAN DIEGO -
The mother of one of three San Diegans killed last week in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, said Tuesday that she wasn't told why her 34-year-old son was in the North African country.
Pat Smith granted interviews to area television stations after word broke this week that her son was also a San Diego resident. Sean Smith grew up in Clairemont and graduated from Mission Bay High School in 1995.
He joined the Air Force straight out of school. From there, he became a U.S. State Department information officer who called the Netherlands his new home. That is where he lived with his wife and two young children.
She said she knew her son was in Libya, although she did not know exactly why.
"The famous line that everybody says… he says he couldn't tell me anything because if he does he'd have to shoot me," she said. "I just didn't want to get shot."
Ex-Navy SEALs Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas, and Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, were also killed, along with Ambassador Chris Stevens.
On the side, Doherty was a fitness trainer at an Encinitas gym, and Woods used to own a bar.
Sean Smith played video games in his spare time, and was known in several forums as "Vile Rat." Online gamers have started a fund for his family at YourCaring.com, with a goal of raising $100,000.
His mother described him as a gaming nerd. He was best at a game called EVE. In fact, she said Smith was online when his compound in Libya was attacked.
"The gamers… they said they were online with him when this happened," Pat added. "He said he told them in two words, an expletive then 'gunfire.' That was all he wrote."
She attended Friday's ceremony outside Washington, D.C., where the remains of the four men were returned to U.S. soil, and said she cried on the shoulders of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and saw tears in the eyes of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
She told 10News that she hopes someday to be able to send some of her son's remains into space.
"I'd like to get something going with that outer space," she added. "He would love it."
Federal officials called Sean Smith a specialist in information technology.
The anti-American unrest in Libya and other Muslim countries is tied to a movie filmed in Southern California and virtually unheard of until a segment of it appeared on YouTube.
"The Innocence of Muslims," regarded by those who have seen it as extremely amateurish, mocks the founder of Islam as a violent womanizer and child abuser, according to those who have seen it.