‘My son mattered’: The unsolved killing of Curtis Smith

Multnomah County

Curtis Smith was shot to death while visiting Portland in February

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Promise Marks said her son, Curtis Smith, “was like a fashionista.” He would dress up his two little girls for parties. “He liked to play with them. He liked to just hug them and hold them and be that big teddy bear.”

Smith was shot multiple times in Farragut Park in Portland’s Piedmont neighborhood on February 25. The 25-year-old lived in Fresno but came to Portland to attend the funeral of a friend when he was killed.

On Wednesday, the FBI offered a $15,000 reward for help solving his murder.

Curtis Smith in an undated photo with his mother, Promise Marks. (Courtesy: Promise Marks)

“I just remember almost falling to the floor and it took what felt like, you know, hours to kind of, for my boss and my coworkers could move me from my actual desk into an office for me to try to breathe and explain what was going on,” Marks told KOIN 6 News. “That was the worst moment of my life. Then it started to feel like this has to be a dream. This can’t be true.”

Marks said whoever killed her son needs to be brought to justice.

“Someone took his life, they took his dream, they took his potential,” she said. “Layla, my oldest, just kept asking, ‘Did somebody hurt Daddy?’ And, you know, just having to, as best we can, explain so that they can understand, that was hard.”

Marks said her son was an amazing person who loved cooking, cutting hair and writing.

“He was, you know, trying to do a little bit of, you know, rap and hip hop and things of that nature and he had a flow and an expression that was just incredible. It was unique.”

She told KOIN 6 News she feels like she needs to speak on her son’s behalf, because “these kids matter and their lives matter. And maybe they’re not in the right place at this moment. Maybe they’re not making the right choices, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t change.”

Marks said she didn’t want to make this a “religious thing,” but her views on God changes her perception.

“I believe that if we don’t have a sense of God and purpose and recognize that there’s something bigger than us, that life is bigger than the latest song, the hottest sneakers and whatever is the thing, then we keep going down this destructive path.”

Curtis Smith with his baby in an undated photo (Courtesy: Promise Marks)

And she said she believes that whoever did this is not sleeping well, fearing for their own life, their own safety.

“I feel like we live in a time where people just don’t care about people anymore. And if you don’t exemplify what they feel is valuable, if you don’t have a certain look or a certain income or live in a certain place or drive a certain car and have all these things, then it’s as if you don’t matter,” Marks said. “But my son mattered. And all of those young men matter. All of them do.”

She is hopeful that the $15,000 reward for information offered by the FBI will lead to a break in the case.

“There’s ways to get that information to the FBI and the authorities in Portland anonymously — and do the right thing.”

This is the fifth award offered by the FBI on behalf of the Metro Safe Streets.

“The cycle of violence is spinning faster and faster, and the pain in our community is extreme,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kieran L. Ramsey. “Our mission is to protect the people who live and work in Oregon, but we can’t do it alone. We need the public’s help, and we need it now.”

Other rewards were offered for information regarding the shootings and deaths of Makayla Harris, Evelin Navarro-Barajas, Dhulfigar Kareem Mseer and De’annzello McDonald.

Anyone with information of anything that happened relating to these shootings are asked to contact PPB by emailing crimetips@portlandoregon.gov or contacting the FBI at 1 (800) CALL-FBI or at tips.fbi.gov.

Curtis Smith (Courtesy: FBI)

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