Cis man stabbed to death protecting trans co-worker: ‘He loved those around him unconditionally’

Colin Smith

A Portland man has been described as a “protector” and “hero” after being tragically stabbed to death while protecting a trans colleague. 

In the early hours of 2 July, Colin Smith and his co-workers from the Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon were outside the nearby High Dive Bar in the Buckman neighborhood.

Smith, 32, stepped in to confront Rahnique Jackson, 24, when he become hostile towards his trans colleague and began shouting slurs. 

Paulina Solis, Smith’s former girlfriend, said the group of co-workers were having trouble with Jackson who they allege had been touching their colleague inappropriately, LGBTQ Nation reported. 

After stepping in to protect his colleague, Smith was stabbed repeatedly before dropping to the ground. The suspect then fled the scene. 

Portland Police Central officers responded to a report that someone had been stabbed at around 1:50am on 2 July. When they arrived on the scene, Smith was already dead.

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On Thursday (13 July), Jackson was indicted on three charges relating to the death of Smith: murder in the second degree, unlawful use of a weapon and bias crime in the second degree. 

Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned on 18 July, at which time he will enter a plea. 

Owner’s of the Ox Restaurant, Greg and Gabi Denton, have set up a fundraiser to help Smith’s family pay for the funeral costs. The $30,000 target has already reached more than $23,000.

‘The best way to remember him is to be kind to others’

A quote from Smith’s mum, Julie Smith, on the fundraiser reads: “Colin was a humble person. He wouldn’t want flowers or the limelight. The best way to remember him is to be kind to others.

“There’s nothing any of us can do now, except to honour his legacy.

“Make a commitment to do something nice for somebody, even if that means just smiling as you’re walking down the street.”

Solis remembered Smith, who had been a longtime worker in the Portland restaurant industry, as a “protector” and someone who “loved those around him unconditionally” and was “so loved” himself. 

“He always looked out for the people that got overlooked,” she told told Oregon Live

Devin Lee, a fellow Ox server, said of Smith: “He was always the first person to be like, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Are you in the weeds? You need help, what do you need?’

“He was quick to tell you he loved you, all the time. He said it to all the guys at Ox. It would catch them off-guard. That was just Colin – he just loved.”

Smith had worked front of house at The Ox for two years prior to his death. His sister, Danielle Smith, said he died a hero. 

“It shouldn’t have happened anywhere, but it’s scary and I just don’t think anyone should be scared to defend your friends because of this.  

“We have to have more Colins out there, you know, and slowly there can be some change maybe,” she told KOIN News.