The Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to whoever fatally stabbed a homeless musician in a San Fernando park.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended the reward, saying Frederick Smith, once a prominent punk rock musician, had recently moved out of a home catering to individuals with mental disabilities.
“He paved the way for African-American musicians in the punk genre,” Kuehl said.
On Aug. 8, Smith’s body was found behind the softball fields in Las Palmas Park.
“Many families were in the park. Kids were practicing baseball in the nearby fields,” Kuehl said, adding that investigators hoped someone had witnessed the crime or other clues that could be helpful.
Smith, known as Fred “Freak” Smith, was a guitarist who played with several bands, including Beefeater and Strange Boutique. The 55-year-old musician had a following in West Hollywood and Washington, D.C., where he grew up.
Kuehl said Smith didn’t develop mental health issues until around 2012.
Musician and record label owner Ian MacKaye praised Smith’s talent in an interview with L.A. Weekly.
“Beefeater was a revolutionary band,” MacKaye told the publication. “Their fusion of metal, funk and jazz at a time when hardcore ruled supreme was popular in D.C. mainly because Freak was an extremely gifted musician and a real kook, unlike anyone else. He was enthusiastic and bold.”
–City News Service
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