Portland police confirmed Tuesday that Benjamin J. Smith (a 43-year old man who lives near Normandale Park) is a suspect in Saturday’s shooting. Investigators believe Smith fired a.45 caliber handgun which left one woman dead, and injured four more.
Smith was hit in the abdomen and bowel by another man who fired back with a rifle. Police said that Smith is still in critical condition and was the fifth victim to the shooting at the park.
Portland police raided Smith’s Rose City Terrace apartment on Monday at 10:30 PM. Smith’s neighbor was also interrogated by police Monday night. About four and a half hours after the shooting, Smith’s roommate was contacted by police.
Police released a statement saying that Portland detectives were working with Multnomah County Prosecutors to determine whether Smith should be charged.
According to the search warrant, investigators will seize all evidence, including phones and computers, in support of possible charges of second degree murder with a firearm, first-degree attempted killing, first-degree assault, and unlawful weapon use.
Portland police on Monday night, Feb. 21, 2022, served a search warrant on the apartment of the man identified by police as the suspect in Saturday night’s mass shooting at a demonstration at Normandale Park in Northeast Portland. One woman was killed and four other demonstrators shot at the park. Police released the name of Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, 43, on Tuesday as the suspect. He was shot Saturday night by someone else in the crowd and remains in the hospital. He is under investigation but hasn’t been charged in the shooting.Courtesy of Kristine Christenson
The investigation is also being closely monitored by federal authorities. U.S. attorney Scott Aspaugh stated that the FBI was working with Portland police, and that his office would make a decision about possible federal charges based upon what they find.
After he claimed that he was involved in the shooting, the man who fired a gun was first arrested on Saturday night. He then turned over his weapon to police. Police released the man after obtaining GoPro footage from a witness.
June Knightly was 60 and was a volunteer for a traffic crew at the protest. He was shot to death in the shooting. Police have not yet identified any other wounded demonstrators. According to a source who has direct knowledge of the investigation, one of them sustained paralysis.
The shooting took place at the beginning of a Justice for Patrick Kimmons March, which is a regular gathering held at various places throughout the city. It was the same day that Kimmons, a 27 year-old Black man, was shot to death by Portland police after he fled with a gun from two wounded men.
Witnesses claim Smith confronted protesters who were marching near the southwest corner of the park at Northeast 55th Avenue, Hassalo Street, around 8 p.m. on Saturday. He was then seen arguing with many people before pulling out a handgun and firing at close range.
According to police, witnesses took evidence from the crime scene and fled before officers arrived. Police are asking for any evidence, video or other information about the shooting to contact them.
Smith’s roommate, family and neighbors said Monday that Smith had been ranting about Black Lives Matter, other protests taking place around the city, the homeless picking through trash on Rose City Terrace property, and his recent COVID-19 mask, as well as the health mandates and new COVID-19 masks. They said that Smith was well-known for his gun collection and boasting about his guns. His roommate and neighbours said that he had also threatened homeless people who entered his apartment complex’s premises.
After a weekend of unimaginable violence, the Portland Police Department announced Tuesday that it will increase its number of officers and overtime for its gun violence intervention unit.
Mayor Ted Wheeler stated that it was a difficult and troubling weekend in the city. “… “…
Six shootings were responded to by police in nine hours, between Thursday night and Friday morning.
Three people were also killed and eight others were injured during President’s Day Weekend. A Normandale Park shooting Saturday night in Northeast Portland. A man was killed in an apparent disturbance Saturday night in Southwest Portland. A woman was killed and her family hurt in an apparent drive-by shooting Sunday evening in Southeast Portland.
According to Police Chief Chuck Lovell, the violence was “probably the most dangerous and difficult weekends” the city had ever seen.