Man Charged With Murder After Shooting Protesters In Portland

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A man has been charged with murder after shooting at a group of protesters in Portland on Saturday (February 19), killing one person and injuring five others.

Benjamin Smith, 43, is now facing multiple counts including second-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder, and several counts of assault, according to a statement released by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

The statement says Smith approached a group of people who gathered to protest the police shooting of Amir Locke in Minneapolis. Locke, 22, was killed last month as Minnesota police carried out a no-knock warrant on which his name was not listed.

Authorities say Smith "confronted a group of people" who were demonstrating at a park in the northeast section of downtown Portland, telling them to leave the area.

"Several participants asked Smith to leave them alone," the statement said. "Moments later, Smith withdrew a firearm and fired at the crowd, striking five people."

The shooting stopped after someone fire backed, hitting Smith in the hip, the statement says. On Tuesday (February 22), Smith was still hospitalized and listed in critical condition.

Authorities identified the person Smith shot and killed as 60-year-old Brandy Knightly, who was pronounced dead at the scene. According to reports, Knightly had been working to protect demonstrators from traffic –– something she'd taken up doing following the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

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