Ronnie Smith was supposed to be headed home to America for the holidays this week. Instead, the 33-year-old chemistry teacher was shot dead while jogging in Libya this morning. Smith, a US citizen, had taught at the International School in Benghazi for a year and a half and was "very much loved," the school principal tells NBC News. Smith can be seen interacting with students on his Twitter feed: In the last exchange posted, an apparent student tweeted at him yesterday, "Knowing im getting 100% on my sci exam tomorrow makes me soo happy @ISBchem right?" He responded: "yep. I already recorded it. 10%."
"He was the most amazing person, more like a best friend or a family member," another student tells NBC. "After everything that happened in Libya, we were losing hope and he was the only one who was supporting us, motivating us, telling us that as long as we studied everything would be OK. He was the silver lining. He dedicated so much of his time for all his students. He chose to come here and help us and risk his life." She adds that he was in Egypt before coming to Libya, and hadn't seen his family in a long time. The AFP reports Smith has a wife and a 2-year-old child, but it's not clear whether they were with him in Libya. No motive is yet known, but the New York Times reports that witnesses say Smith's attackers were driving a black Jeep. (Read more Benghazi stories.)