Money won’t bring her daughter back, but Jacqualine Smith prays she can raise enough to put Curtisia Courtney Smith’s killer behind bars.
In her latest fundraising effort, the Lantana mother is hosting an anti-bullying rally during which she will raffle off a 2008 Kia Sorento. The rally is slated for 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 21 at Intracoastal Park. Smith also is planning a banquet June 16 at Benvenuto Restaurant on Federal Highway.
How to enter raffle
Tickets for the gold 2008 Kia Sorento are $50 each or three for $125. The drawing for the SUV will be April 21 at the Intracoastal Park.
All money will go toward the Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to arrests in Courtney Smith's killing. Call 561-305-0139 or 561-856-0000 for more information.
All the money she raises will go toward upping the Crime Stoppers’ reward for tips leading to arrests in Courtney’s murder last April outside a Boynton Beach market.
The reward already sits at nearly $11,000 — a combination of money from Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County, donations and Smith.
“I’m not going to give up hope,” Smith said, who also has created a GoFundMe page online to help raise money for the reward.
Courtney, a 26-year-old budding photographer and beloved daycare worker, was shot at point-blank range late April 5, 2017, outside Z Food Meat Market on North Seacrest Boulevard, north of West Boynton Beach Boulevard.
She died 12 days later from the gunshot wounds to her neck, chest and legs. Within hours of her death, Boynton Beach police arrested Roderick Taylor in connection to the killing.
Police records indicate “Rat Mike,” as Taylor is known, walked into the store that night while another man waited outside. Surveillance-camera footage showed Taylor walk out about a minute later and motion his head toward Courtney. The second man pulled out a gun and appeared to fire five rounds, police said.
A few days later, police took the suspected gunman into custody. He only remained there 12 hours. Police dropped the case against him “out of an abundance of caution,” citing “exculpatory evidence.” Authorities have not elaborated on what that evidence is.
No one else has been arrested in Courtney’s death, though police records indicate at least one other person was involved in the “targeted attack.”
Smith believes her daughter’s killing is tied to the months of bullying Courtney endured by a former neighbor. That’s why Saturday’s rally will look beyond Courtney’s killing to larger bullying issues, Smith said.
“There are so many families that are shattered because of bullying,” Smith said. “No other family should experience what I have gone through the past year.”
In the months before Courtney was killed, she was attacked in her car, terrorized at her home and threatened at gunpoint, according to court records.
She had a restraining order against her former neighbor and that person’s family, who she said harassed her. The Post is not naming the woman because police have not publicly linked her to Courtney’s killing.
“Yes, I do feel at fear for my life because (the woman) and her son and her children are making it clear they are going to keep attacking me, and they want to kill me,” Courtney wrote in February 2017 in her first petition for an injunction for protection against the woman. “I know that it is them because I don’t have problems with anyone else.”
Saturday’s rally will feature performers and youth groups who will address bullying and its effects.
Anyone with information about Courtney Smith’s death is urged to contact Boynton Beach police detective Midian Diaz at 561-732-8116 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-TIPS (8477). Tips also can be submitted through the MyPD app or www.bbpd.org.
For more information about Saturday’s rally call 561-305-0139 or 561-856-0000.