Suspect in deadly shooting during weekend protest in Portland faces several charges, including murder


The suspect in a weekend shooting that left one woman dead and four people wounded during a protest in Portland, Oregon, faces several charges, including murder, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The shooting unfolded Saturday night after Benjamin Smith, described by police as an homeowner, allegedly confronted a group of demonstrators who were protesting the killing of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police, authorities said.

Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was killed on February 2 by police conducting a no-knock warrant on a residence. The killing had sparked protests in Minneapolis along with calls for an end to no-knock warrants by police.

Smith, 43, faces charges of second-degree murder and four counts of second-degree attempted murder, according to a news release from Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. He was also charged with two counts of first-degree assault with a firearm and two counts of second-degree assault with a firearm.

CNN was not able to determine if Smith has legal representation and could not reach him for comment.

Smith and some protesters were armed, police said, and the shooting happened around 8 p.m. local time after Smith asked the protesters to leave the 13-acre Normandale Park.

“Several participants asked Smith to leave them alone. Moments later, Smith drew a firearm and fired at the crowd, striking five people,” the DA’s office said in the news release.

The shootings ended after Smith was shot in the hip area, and he remains hospitalized in a serious condition, authorities said. One person died at the scene, and four others were hospitalized with various injuries, the DA’s office said.

The person who shot Smith “remained at the scene, cooperated with investigators, and was later released,” police said in an email to CNN.

On Tuesday, the victim was identified as 60-year-old Brandy Knightly. The manner of death was homicide, and the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police described the shooting scene as “extremely chaotic” and noted some witnesses were uncooperative to the responding officers.

“Most people on scene left without talking to police,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a news release. “Detectives believe a large number of people either witnessed what happened or recorded the incident as it unfolded. This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces.”