LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Fred Smith, also known as “The Freak,” blazed trails in the punk music scene.
An innovator, he was also one of the few black performers, in the punk world.
This past August, Smith was murdered. And as CBS2’s Tom Wait reports, his killer is still on the loose.
Wait reports from West Hollywood where there is a new reward being offered for the person who killed the well-known guitarist.
He was a superstar in the the hardcore punk scene. He often performed at the Troubadour. In his heyday he hung out with some of music industry’s biggest stars — like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Smith even made a brief appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.”
“That’s my real name, Freak,” he told Leno.
That’s your whole name? Leno asked?
“Yeah, just Freak,” he said.
Smith would fall on hard times. In August he was found dead — fatally stabbed in a San Fernando Park. His mother says he was battling cancer and struggling with other issues. She spoke to Wait by phone from Maryland.
“He was having some mental problems. He was living in sort of what you call a halfway house,” she explained.
Police say Smith started living in Las Palmas Park about three weeks before he was killed. Sheriff’s investigators say on the night of the murder – August 8 – there was a lot of activity in the park – and they’re looking for witnesses. Detectives say motive is the big question. His mother is also searching for answers – and just beginning to grieve.
“In my heart I forgive that person – I forgive that person for what he did to my son. And I hope that that person will give themselves up,” she said.
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who can help lead to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
Authorities described the person of interest in the case as a man in his late 20s with tattoos on his face and on his arm.