Billy Owens Smith was a coach, a husband and a father of three. The 41-year-old was stabbed to death in his own home Friday morning in Greenbelt, Maryland, and police are still searching for his killer.
Smith's teen son was in the apartment when it happened.
"Every day he would tell us, 'Smith family first'," said his wife, Kristina. "And he would tell us every day that he would die before he’d let anything happen to any of us. And he's a hero."
Greenbelt police say three men wearing masks forced their way in just before 11 a.m. Friday. During a physical confrontation, Smith was stabbed multiple times.
He received first aid on the scene before he was taken to the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
His son was not hurt.
Police said Tuesday the crime was not random.
"This is an active, ongoing investigation and information can change," Greenbelt police said in a release.
"He inspired me every single day he woke up," the Smiths' son said. "He showed me what it is to be a great father, to care for your family, to do what you have to do for your family."
Smith had coached hundreds of kids in football and basketball over the years in the Greenbelt Boys and Girls Club.
At the Spring Hill Lake Recreation Center in Greenbelt came an outpouring from the community. Even members of the Greenbelt police department attended
"Every single person in that gym, he knew, and he loved, and he cared about," Kristina Smith said. "And he helped."
The Smiths met as students at Salisbury University and were married for 17 years.
"We had dinner at Olive Garden .. first date .. he proposed to me at the same Olive Garden .. he remembered where we sat on our first date."
They were friends with two other couples from college; the group called themselves the Salisbury Six.
"We've lost one member of our family, but we're going to do whatever it takes to support Kristina and the kids," said family friend Natasha Davis. "Nothing is going to change. We're going to continue to support and love on them."
The family shared a video of Smith dancing to offer a glimpse into his big, life-of-the-party personality.
"He was the best father any female could have," said one of his daughters. "And he taught me a lot. I'm going to carry that for the rest of my life."
So far, police have made no arrests and have no motive in the crime.
A family friend has established a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Smith's funeral.