Arts & Entertainment

San Bernardino shooting: Gamer community paid virtual tribute to slain colleague Daniel Kaufman

A screenshot of a tribute left in the virtual world of the game by players at the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.
A screenshot of a tribute left in the virtual world of the game by players at the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.
Adam Murvine on Google+
A screenshot of a tribute left in the virtual world of the game by players at the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.
A screenshot from San Bernardino shooting victim Daniel Kaufman's Google+ page.
Daniel Kaufman on Google+
A screenshot of a tribute left in the virtual world of the game by players at the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.
A screenshot of a tribute left in the game Ingress spelling out "RIP Kojen" in honor of San Bernardino shooting victim Daniel Kaufman.
via Imgur
A screenshot of a tribute left in the virtual world of the game by players at the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.
A screenshot from the website for the game Ingress.
Ingress website


Players of a popular geocaching-style game called Ingress, beloved by one of the victims of the shooting in San Bernardino, held a moment of silence online for him last week.

Larry Kaufman (who went by his middle name, Daniel), was deeply engaged with the game Ingress. His boyfriend, Ryan Reyes, told KPCC that he and Daniel would spend whole days traveling together and playing Ingress on some weekends.

He was well known in the online community, so much so that players held a moment of silence in the game on Friday following his death, asking all players to cease competition for five minutes.

Kaufman's own Google+ page — the preferred social network of Ingress — is filled with references to the game, including a self-portrait of Kaufman wearing green contacts, his team's color.

Facebook post

Ingress is played using a mobile device. Gamers can travel to and claim certain designated locations in the real world. It has a devoted following of millions of players, with players on the same team cooperating even internationally to take new territory in a science fiction story overlaid on places all around us. That cooperative element means that players often have connections with each other.

Kaufman, known in the game as "Kojen," was part of a team called "the Enlightened," which competes against the game's other team, "the Resistance." Once members of both teams found out what happened to Kaufman, they reached out in support using the hashtag #beacons4kojen, posting pictures of "beacons" in the game left in Kaufman's honor as virtual candlelight vigils. The beacons essentially act as virtual neon signs.

"We lost Agent Kojen to the senseless shooting in San Bernardino yesterday," player Liberty Naud wrote last week. "We are holding a virtual candlelight vigil for him by asking agents to place [a beacon] on a portal near them. Daniel Kaufman​... your light was taken from us too soon. You could always make me laugh, even when things were hard. Tonight, we place Beacons across the globe in your memory. May they light your way."

Some beacons were even placed in the game near the real-world vigil held at San Manuel Stadium.

"I met @kojen(Daniel) at my first Ingress event in San Diego in July of 2014. He struck me as a friendly & vibrant soul. While I didn't know him well, when I did get to see him, he always made me smile," Gabe Tetrault wrote last week. "Daniel was shot during the senseless tragedy that took place yesterday in San Bernardino. I don't have words to express the sadness I feel."

Players from around the world paid tribute to Kojen online, including posts from players from California to Switzerland.

"We may be on different [factions] but we are all on the same team," Chantelle Stephenson wrote in one post. "We stand United in this senseless tragedy," Scott Robinson wrote in another.

One player noted that another player of the game was killed in a mass shooting at an Oregon community college.

You can get more background on Ingress' storyline below:

Ingress video