The death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens was national news, with coverage in publications spanning from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. Initially their publications' articles were stories with hard-news leads, like the article from the Los Angeles Times.
The reason for the LA Times selection of a hard-news lead was most likely the timeliness of the story. The event was less than 12 hours old. So, the most important information was the basics of the event: the who, what, where, when, and why. All are included in the lead, but the most newsworthy part, the who, is mentioned first because it contains the greatest news value. Ambassador Stevens was a prominent U.S. figure. In addition, his death contained another big-bank news value - conflict.
The lead bordered on wordy, with detail given on nearly every news element, but the detail was likely warranted given the gravity of the event and it's possible involvement with the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Overall, the lead focused on objectivity and accuracy. Information was sourced from the Associated Press, Libyan officials, and the State Department. The goal was to give as much information as possible and the function of the lead was to efficiently inform.