Fatal Shooting in Portland


Portland investigators said one died and five others were injured during a shooting the evening of February 19. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Natasha Pack, Staff Writer

A shooting in Portland, OR that killed racial justice demonstrator Brandy “June” Knightly, 60, and wounded five others occurred a little past 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 19. The violence was sparked by a confrontation between a group of protesters, including Knightly, and a homeowner since identified as Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, 43.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, “Demonstrators said the shooting happened after Smith allegedly started yelling at a group of racial justice protesters holding a ‘justice for Amir Locke’ demonstration at Normandale Park. Locke, who was Black, was killed by Minneapolis police serving a no-knock warrant earlier this month.”

Smith, still hospitalized in serious condition after a protester returned fire, was characterized by his roommate Kristine Christenson as a “sad angry dude” who resented mask mandates, owned several guns, hated liberals, and frequently “talked about wanting to go shoot commies and antifa.”

Police are still trying to piece together what happened without much reliable information. An update by the Portland Police Bureau reads, “The scene was extremely chaotic, and a number of witnesses were uncooperative with responding officers. Most people on scene left without talking to police.” Police officers are asking witnesses to contact them.

There shouldn’t be so many shootings happening all around us. I believe in peace, not violence, and that the police need to hold everyone related to this shooting accountable for their actions.