Oregon Man Fatally Stabbed After Defending His Friend From Harassment

Colin Smith, a 32-year-old Portland man, was stabbed to death at a local bar on July 2 while defending his friend from anti-LGBTQ harassment.

July 20, 2023
Colin M. Smith, pictured here smiling and holding a cat, was fatally stabbed on July 2, 2023 in Portland, Oregon.

Friends say Colin Smith, who was fatally stabbed in Portland, Oregon, on July 2, died standing up for a friend who was facing anti-LGBTQ harassment.

Photo by: Portland Police Bureau

Portland Police Bureau

Colin Smith, a 32-year-old man from Portland, Oregon, got off work at Ox Restaurant and went out with friends late at night on Saturday, July 1, 2023. They went to the High Dive bar to unwind, but soon found themselves being harassed. In the very early morning hours of July 2, a bar patron inappropriately touched one of Smith’s friends. He then began to verbally attack Smith’s friend, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, reported The Oregonian.

Smith stepped up to defend his friend, and the bar patron stabbed him several times. Police officers arrived at 1:49 a.m. after being called to the scene. However, the suspect had fled, and Smith was already dead. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the medical examiner determined that Smith died of homicide by stabbing.

Smith’s ex-girlfriend Paulina Solis, who had remained his friend, told The Oregonian, “He was a protector. He died being the person that we all knew him to be.”

Colin’s sister, Dani Smith, remembers her brother as a hero. She told NBC News, “Everyone loved him, and it showed at his memorial. It’s one thing when it’s your friends and family, but all of his employers loved him. It just was like a big eye opener that, gosh, he really was loved, and that was because he was kind, he was patient, he was understanding, accepting of everyone, funny, good-looking.”

The United States Marshals Service arrested suspect Rahnique U. Jackson, 24, for Smith’s murder on July 7 in Southeast Portland. According to KGW-TV, the NBC Portland affiliate, he was indicted on three charges: one count of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and second-degree bias crime, which is a hate crime in Oregon.

The owners of Ox Restaurant, where Smith worked, have started a GoFundMe page for the victim’s family. On the page, Julie Smith, Colin’s mom, was quoted as saying, "There's nothing any of us can do now, except to honor his legacy. Make a commitment to do something nice for somebody, even if that means just smiling as you're walking down the street."

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