DENVER (KDVR) — It’s been roughly two and a half years since Zackary Smith was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head inside his car. Now, his parents are urgently pushing for tips so they can help Denver Police Department solve this case.
On Thursday, Metro Denver Crime Stoppers announced an increased reward for information leading to an arrest in Smith’s case. The reward has since been increased to $30,000. Smith’s parents donated to the pot of money and are behind that push for answers.
“He just loved Denver and the circle of friends he had and he was a Colorado guy,” Smith’s father Scot Smith told FOX31. The two moved to Denver in 2002 when Smith was 13 years old.
Smith’s mother, Jan Purther, lived with his sisters in Michigan at the time of the move.
“I think he became him because of Denver,” Purther said. “The music that he stumbled upon.”
Smith grew up playing guitar and went on to play guitar in Autonomix, an electric dance music band in Denver.
“He was very talented. The first CD he did, he was only 24, 25 years old and the music was incredible,” Smith said. “To think that he did that at such a young age still blows me away.”
But now, Smith’s parents are left with the memories of his music. Smith was found dead Sept. 10, 2020, in his car in an alley between Quebec and Quince Streets near 17th in East Denver just before 4 a.m. His parents tell FOX31 he was in the area of a friend’s house. A massive snowstorm dropped two days before his death, and according to his parents, he didn’t have heat in his apartment.
“One shot was fired through the back of his car,” Smith said. “Kind of below the rear windshield into a metal panel in the back of the car. It was one shot. He was driving away. That bullet deflected, hit him in the back of the head. He, then I believe lost conscious right then, hit a tree in that alley and then the car flipped over.”
His parents, now desperate for answers, characterize Smith as “one of the nicest people you’re gonna meet.”
“He never should have met his end how that happened in that alley that night,” Smith said. “That never should have happened to a guy like Zack.”
”We want justice for our son,” Purther said. “We will spend the rest of our lives until we get justice for him. He did not deserve to die. He was ready to buy a house, his band was the best he could be doing. Just the peak of his life, he lived life to the fullest every day.”
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call our partners at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers. You can leave an anonymous tip at (720) 913-7867 and be eligible for a $30,000 reward.