Murder Charge Filed in Shooting of Protesters

Family, neighbors say Benjamin Jeffrey Smith had complained about demonstrations
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2022 7:10 PM CST
Suspect Charged After Shooting at Demonstration
Police investigate Saturday in Portland, Ore., after a man shot into a crowd of demonstrators.   (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

The man police say opened fire on a crowd of people demonstrating for racial justice and against police violence in a park has been charged with murder and attempted murder. Four people were injured in the attack Saturday night in Portland, Ore., and Brandy "June" Knightly, 60, was killed, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. A court filing says one person was paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting, and three others were wounded, one of whom is still hospitalized. Someone in the crowd who's licensed to carry a gun then shot Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, 43, the records show. Smith is in critical condition in a hospital.

He's been charged with one count of second-degree murder, four counts of attempted first- degree murder with a firearm, and four counts of assault with a firearm. Video shows Smith walking up to demonstrators in the park, "yelling at them and demanding they leave the area," prosecutors wrote. They in turn told Smith to "leave them alone and return home," officials said. Smith's relatives, neighbors, and roommate said he regularly complained about protests taking place around Portland, per Oregon Live. He bragged about owning guns, and had threatened homeless people who stepped onto the property of the apartment complex where he lives, they said. (More Portland, Oregon stories.)

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