Man Celebrated As A 'Protector' Lost His Life Defending Friend From Harassment

Colin Smith's memory will be upheld as someone who stood up for what's right.

Colin Smith GoFundMe

A 32-year-old man in Portland, Oregon, is being remembered by family and friends as a person who stood up for what’s right, even in his last moments.

Colin Smith is being celebrated as a protector, after losing his life while defending a friend from harassment.

He was fatally stabbed outside The High Dive Bar on July 2, 2023. A man approached Colin and his friends, making homophobic comments, touching two members of the group without consent, and specifically targeting one of Colin’s friends for being LGBTQ+. Colin jumped to action, which cost him his life.


Colin’s ex-girlfriend, Paulina Solis, wasn’t present during the altercation at the bar, yet she exclaimed that he “died being the person that we all knew him to be.”

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Solis emphasized Colin’s abiding sense of justice and compassion. ​“I think Colin, just in general, has always had really strong values around supporting the underdog, just looking out for people who maybe got overlooked,” she said. Solis also stated, “We want people to know that this stemmed from a hate crime, and Colin was there to, of course, stand up for his friend."


On July 7, 2023, Rahnique Jackson was arrested by members of the US Marshals Service. He has been charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and second-degree bias crime, which is considered a hate crime under Oregon law.

Solis recounted stories of her experiences with Colin that highlighted his inherent compassion, saying, “When I went out to eat with Colin or when we went out into public, I feel like he always took time to just really genuinely connect with people, whether it be servers, I mean, especially the service industry workers, your grocery store clerks, homeless people.”

She continued, explaining, “Colin saw people as people."


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In the wake of Colin losing his life while defending a friend, he's being remembered for his strong sense of justice and compassion.

Colin's loss is being mourned not only by his close family and friends, but also by the members of the Portland service industry community, as Colin was a beloved server at Ox Restaurant.

colin smith celebrated for being a protector after fatal stabbingPhoto: Paulina Solis


Greg Denton, the owner of Ox Restaurant, explained how Colin's acts of kindness reverberated throughout the workplace.

“Colin embodied the true definition of hospitality," he said. "Without thought, he put others' needs before his own, whether that was picking up a shift for a coworker, bringing the kitchen employees beverages on a hot night in the kitchen, or making a guest feel that they were in kind, knowledgeable, and friendly hands.”

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“His presence at Ox will continue to live on, and his time here will forever inspire waves of compassion and positivity amongst us,” Denton concluded.

In a statement made to People Magazine, Julie Smith, Colin’s mother, praised her son as "humble, simple and grounded in the light of goodness and love."


“I lost my boy when he was defending a friend,” Julie wrote. “A quick action that was spontaneous and innate to his selfless character.”

The grieving mother further described her son as ​“an amazing person. Was he perfect? No. But I always said that even when Colin was bad, he was good. Because he was honest.”

It’s clear that as Colin’s loved ones mourn him, they’re also working to uphold his memory, and ensure that his life wasn't lost in vain.

​“There’s nothing any of us can do now, except to honor his legacy,” Julie explained. “Make a commitment to do something nice for somebody, even if that means just smiling as you’re walking down the street.”


A GoFundMe has been established in Colin Smith’s name.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers the LGBTQ+ community, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.