September 28, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Gay man killed in San Bernardino massacre saved 4 people

BY TROY MASTERS  |  A memorial service was held Saturday Dec. 5, 2015 for Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, a gay man who was killed while working at a coffee cart inside the Inland Regional Center for people with disabilities in San Bernardino. He was gunned down when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked the facility killing 14 and wounding dozens more.

The attack is being investigated as an act of terror and groups affiliated with Daesh have claimed credit.

Daniel Kaufman is a hero.  He is a hero for all Americans.

He was in the courtyard eating lunch with several of people near the corridor where he had been working as the shooting began. Daniel, always more concerned about everyone around him than himself, began screaming “Get out! Go!  Get out now! Hurry!” He began pushing people out of harms way, urging them to the safety of the door before he was shot and killed.

He is credited with saving 4 people’s lives, according to sources close to Ryan Reyes, Kaufman’s surviving partner.  Reyes will tell Daniel’s story this week on the Dr. Phil show.

kaufman

 

Daniel was always the one person among his wide circle of friends that everyone  turned to for a quick, uplifting chat when they were having a bad day or wanted a laugh.

Daniel Kaufman. Photo by Richard Lowe, Jr.
Daniel Kaufman. Photo by Richard Lowe, Jr.

Many of those loved ones gathered at Irwindale, California’s Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area on Saturday to remember Daniel.

Friends gathered to share memories of Daniel, laughing and crying as they shared intimate exchanges with him, remembering their final contact and their favorite things about him.

His partner of three years, Ryan Reyes, retold Daniel’s favorite stories.  Daniel, he said, lived to make people laugh.  He loved to get that reaction from people.

Daniel, a practicing Wiccan, was a regular participant at the Renaissance Fairs who also loved scary movies and comic books.  He was looking forward to Star Wars and had recently met Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films.

Some people at the memorial service knew Daniel only as the guy with the smiling face. It was only after his image was broadcast that some of them learned his name.

“It didn’t matter what type of mood he was in, if you were hurting, it was that bright cheery, ‘are you ok? I’m going to make you laugh. I’m going to make you feel good again.’ that was Daniel,” Reyes said.

“God, I miss him.”

Daniel Kaufman and Ryan Reyes, at Bent-Con 2014
Daniel Kaufman and Ryan Reyes, at Bent-Con 2014.  Photo by Greg Fox.

Ryan Reyes has a special message he wants to send:

“I speak for both Daniel and myself when I say that this attack should NOT encourage people to treat Muslims any differently than they would anyone else,” said Reyes.

“This tragedy was committed by a radical group.

We do not hold all Christians accountable for the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, so why do we blame all Muslims for the actions of THEIR version of Westboro? It makes no sense.

The twisted actions and beliefs of a few should not be used to view the majority.

Muslims are just as loving and caring as anyone else. It made Daniel sick and continues to make me sick, that Americans refuse to drop this way of thinking.

Muslim people are just as desperate to capture the radical groups as anyone else.

By joining forces and working together through love and understanding, we can defeat those that perpetrate these acts.

My heart and sympathy goes out to all Muslims that are not members of these radical groups. I am sorry that, for whatever reason, people cannot seem to understand that the radical groups and terrorists do NOT speak for all Muslims.

Just know that I do not blame you for this and I love you as my brothers and sisters in humanity, just as Daniel would.”

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